There is a shortage of skilled workers across the United States and Canada, and the gap is expected to widen between workers needed in North America and the workers who have the necessary skills. To help close the skills gap, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has proudly supported SkillsUSA® and its students since 2004. SkillsUSA, formerly known as VICA, helps high school and postsecondary students excel through world-class technical education coupled with training in leadership, character development and commitment to community service.

In joining hands with SkillsUSA and its more than 320,000 members annually, we know the hard work we put in together today will produce our leaders of tomorrow. As part of the largest corporate donation in SkillsUSA history, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has committed $1.5 million annually to our nonprofit partner through 2014. This brings Lowe’s total commitment to SkillsUSA to more than $10 million. SkillsUSA and Lowe's graphic In 2012, Lowe’s foundation awarded 35 grants of up to $25,000 each to SkillsUSA chapters for community improvement and rebuilding projects while connecting schools with local Lowe’s stores for support. The foundation also contributed $241,000 for TeamWorks competitions in 33 states and funded CareerSafe vouchers that were distributed to more than 3,600 students nationwide to help them master fundamental safety knowledge needed in the workplace.

Lowe’s continued to support SkillsUSA’s National Leadership and Skills Competition. Lowe’s foundation donated more than $130,000 to help with competition prizes, materials and the conference webcast. More than 5,800 career and technical education students competed in the 2012 SkillsUSA Championships, and Lowe’s executives were on hand to congratulate competitors at the closing ceremonies.

The New Chapter Support Fund also helped SkillsUSA grow its membership and honor teachers. The program provided more than 500 new SkillsUSA advisories with educational resources to help them build leadership skills in their students. Combined, those teachers reach an estimated 47,000 students every day.

Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation also continued its support of trades education in Canada. A $1.25 million contribution to Skills Canada will support school grants and additional projects through 2014. Last year, Lowe’s employees participated in provincial and national Skills competitions in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. They also volunteered to host a series of painting and drywall workshops for seventh- and eighth-grade students attending weeklong Skills Work Camps.

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