Home Depot launches career program in Houston to help people find skilled trade jobs

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Labor Day wouldn't exist without the work of unions, and if you're looking for a construction job that could land you in a union, you could start at a home supply store.

The Home Depot just launched a Path to Pro program in the Houston area. It's open to anyone over the age of 18.

You can learn trade jobs and get help with communication skills, and even resume writing. Plus, everything is done online. The average length to complete the program is 10 hours.

"We wanted to give back to connect people looking for new careers with our customers," said The Home Depot's workforce development director Jenna Arca.

This could help you land a job in HVAC, carpentry, electrical or plumbing.

At the end of the program, the company connects graduates with employers looking to hire, and it doesn't cost a thing.

"We're looking to not only influence young people who are entering the career and job force for the first time, and maybe they don't want to go to a four-year college," said Arca. "Maybe that's not the route for them. We're also looking for people who are looking to re-skill."

If the construction world interests you, the Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council is looking for candidates for its upcoming apprenticeship readiness program.

It's a three-week course that helps get you get a job made possible by a union.

"Only about 6% of people in the Houston area are represented by unions today, but we do have representation all across the Gulf Coast," said Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation political director Jay Malone. "People put down their tools and demanded and said they weren't going to work 16-hour days anymore."

Malone said even if you've never been in a union, the movement's impact has touched your life.

"If you're working, then it impacts you in every way you can imagine," Malone explained. "The reason why we have 8-hour workdays, and 40-hour work weeks, is because of the labor movement. Overtime, minimum wage, health care benefits."

Labor Day has been a federal holiday for more than 100 years, but for U.S. Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh, who was a part of a union, he hopes people use the time to thank those who have made a difference during the pandemic.

"They've kept us safe, they've kept us healthy, they've kept us alive, they've kept us fed," Walsh said. "We owe them a debt of gratitude not to forget them."

A movement sparked by unions continues to impact workers now - and it's one you can tap into by simply walking in to your local Home Depot.

For updates on this report, follow ABC13 reporter Nick Natario on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.