ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Unico, Inc. has signed on as a major sponsor of a nationwide initiative to encourage young people to join skilled trades. The program, Generation Next, will help raise money from companies and trade associations serving the home construction and renovation industry to support scholarships for students pursuing careers as heating, ventilation and air conditioning specialists and plumbers, carpenters, electricians, roofers and masons.
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation will receive all funds raised by the Generation Next campaign. Mike Rowe started the foundation to help close the skills gap caused by the aging of the current workforce and a shrinking pool of new people entering the trades. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 3.1 million unfilled skilled labor jobs today with an additional 2.5 million expected by 2017.
This Old House Ventures launched Generation Next in late 2016. Later this year, the cast of the TV show “This Old House” will renovate a house to showcase the skills that are needed for a successful project. Unico is donating a complete HVAC system that will be installed in the home. The Unico System is ideal for older homes that do not have central air; the small-diameter, tubular ducts are flexible and can snake above ceilings, below floors and in between walls, eliminating the need for soffits and drop ceilings. This “hidden” heating and air-conditioning system provides even temperatures and operates quietly, making it a popular choice for homeowners.
On the show, the expert tradespeople from “This Old House” will also dispel myths about skilled jobs and shed light on the surprising benefits, rewards and opportunities that these careers can provide.