The Lowe’s Foundation has generously awarded a substantial $750,000 grant to the Seattle Colleges in support of their Wood Technology Center, a division of Seattle Central College. This center plays a pivotal role in providing training programs catering to novice individuals venturing into the trades and seasoned carpenters looking to advance their skills.
This significant gift from Lowe’s Foundation will pave the way for creating two vital positions within the Wood Technology Center. The first role will focus on student recruitment and retention, facilitating internships and apprenticeships within the local construction industry, and assisting those seeking additional skills to advance in their careers. The second position will entail the appointment of a dedicated site manager responsible for procurement, materials distribution, and acquiring essential tools and equipment.
This grant is the most substantial private contribution ever received by the Wood Technology Center. It’s also worth mentioning that this initiative is among the first beneficiaries of the Lowe’s Foundation Gable Grant program, which aims to support 11 community and technical colleges nationwide. Over the next five years, this program, a charitable arm of the North Carolina-based home improvement retailer Lowe’s, plans to allocate $50 million to equip 50,000 individuals with the skills necessary for successful careers in skilled trades.
The Wood Technology Center offers a diverse array of educational pathways for students. They can pursue a pre-apprenticeship construction training certificate or opt for associate degrees in carpentry or boat building. Recently, the center introduced a nine-month residential construction certificate program, further broadening its educational offerings.
Last year, the future of the Wood Technology Center was uncertain as the Seattle Community Colleges district grappled with budget challenges. However, following a groundswell of community support, the colleges reaffirmed their commitment to the center’s stability, making a series of decisions to ensure its financial well-being. This commitment was reinforced by additional support from the state Legislature, which provided staff and faculty with a cost-of-living salary adjustment implemented earlier this year.
This grant from the Lowe’s Foundation marks a significant milestone in securing the future of the Wood Technology Center. It underscores the importance of partnerships between educational institutions and community-minded organizations in advancing workforce development and skills training.