Wells Fargo Contribution To Help Train Veterans For Careers In Construction


A grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation will help establish a training program to address the need for credentialed contractors in communities nationwide.

The foundation has a working relationship with Team Rubicon, a veteran-led humanitarian organization that provides relief before, during, and after natural disasters. Leaders there say they continue to see a critical shortage of people with the skills necessary to assist homeowners in the rebuilding process.

Team Rubicon’s new TRades Academy will provide veterans with contracting, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC skills. Trainees will gain the field experience needed to eventually become certified contractors in their own communities, according to a press release.

Wells Fargo has provided a $750,000 grant to support the academy. That money unlocked a match from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. They will match up to $6.5 million in donations for the project.

Anna Bard, who is the head of employee volunteerism, disaster, and global philanthropy at Wells Fargo, recently sat down with The Mortgage Note to talk more about the partnership with Team Rubicon.

In her role at Wells Fargo, Bard works in disaster response philanthropy with two national partners, Team Rubicon and the American Red Cross.

“One of the things that I like about Team Rubicon and that aligns with the Wells Fargo Foundation mission is they do respond to the large disasters that we all hear about but they also respond to what we call low-media disasters. So it can be a small community in Mississippi that is decimated by a tornado that may not make the 7 o’clock news but it is very tragic to that community,” Bard said.

Bard said the TRades Academy will help Team Rubicon because it will increase the number of people who can help when the need arises while providing a pathway to good-paying jobs for veterans.

The Wells Fargo Foundation has four primary focus areas: housing access and affordability, small business growth, financial health, and sustainability.

Bard said they are committed to these focus areas because it is where they feel they can make the most impact.

“We feel like we not only have financial expertise but also more technical expertise around those areas so we want to do things that are material to our business in ways that we can not just do the traditional check-writing philanthropy but have more meaningful strategies and partnerships to make that impact,” Bard said.

Wells Fargo employees step up to join in the efforts. Last year, they donated over 700,000 volunteer hours.

Recently, employees put in 34,000 volunteer hours to support the company’s Welcome Home initiative.

Through the Community Care Grants program, company leaders encourage employees to contribute to the communities where they live and work year-round. Their volunteer hours are rewarded with up to $2,000 they can direct to the nonprofit of their choice.

In 2022, $14 million was distributed through Community Care Grants, Bard said.

When asked if the private sector has a responsibility to help provide solutions to today’s most pressing social issues, Bard said it does.

“I think that our country now, sort of as we always have been, is facing complex challenges, and the challenges that we’re facing can’t be solved with government alone or by business alone so I think it’s everyone’s responsibility to come together and to bring the resources they have to bear to that problem,” Bard said.

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