December 4, 2023 - 9:55 am
With a grant of $750,000, the Wells Fargo Foundation will fuel the creation of the Team Rubicon TRades Academy to address the need for credentialed contractors in communities nationwide, especially after natural disasters.
The veteran‑led humanitarian organization Team Rubicon continues to witness a critical shortage of contractors with the skills to provide homeowners with efficient and high‑quality rebuild and repair services following disasters. To address this shortage, Team Rubicon is developing the TRades Academy program, which will provide trainees with trade skills, including contracting, electric, plumbing and HVAC, to use within their own communities.
The TRades Academy is expected to enable Team Rubicon to begin scaling rebuild operations by the end of 2025 while providing students the credentials and field experience needed to become certified contractors in their own communities.
As a key funder for the program, the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation aims to match donations up to $6.5 million, including matching the $750,000 Wells Fargo grant to kick-start the program.
Wells Fargo is furthering its investment into Team Rubicon, to help communities before, during and after disasters and crises across the globe. With the TRades Academy, Wells Fargo is looking into the future, addressing an increasing labor shortage that can help address the need for repairs to homes and small businesses.
“The TRades Academy is a visionary program that encompasses so many priority areas for Wells Fargo from supporting veterans to keeping people in affordable homes,” said Anna Bard, head of employee giving, service and disaster relief at Wells Fargo. “Team Rubicon is empowering people with skills and certifications so that communities will have access to qualified rebuilding experts and program participants can effectively start their own small business. We are investing in long‑term impact for veterans and the communities they live in nationwide.”
The pandemic caused a disruption in America’s labor force, and in 2022 alone, more than 50 million workers quit their jobs. Construction and skilled tradespeople were not immune to the Great Resignation: At the height of the pandemic, the National Association of Home Builders found that 69 percent of its members felt the effects of the qualified worker shortage.
Team Rubicon has been in the long‑term recovery space for half a decade, launching seven rebuild operations for communities recovering from disasters since the pilot rebuild operation launched in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.
To date, teams have rebuilt more than 500 roofs and 200 homes for vulnerable families and individuals. Team Rubicon continues to identify homeowners struggling the most to recover from disasters and provide the necessary rebuild and repair services to restore the safety and health of their homes.
At the same time, Team Rubicon has 13 years of experience engaging veteran community members to serve their neighbors impacted by disasters. Veterans who engage with Team Rubicon experience tangible impacts through continuing their service and training with Team Rubicon, which will continue to grow through the TRades Academy.
“Wells Fargo’s continued partnership with Team Rubicon remains essential in our mission to assist the most vulnerable communities,” Team Rubicon CEO Art delaCruz said. “Looking forward, Wells Fargo is at the forefront of our efforts, as Team Rubicon performs long‑term recovery by supporting TRades to address the growing skilled labor shortage.”
The academy is expected to focus on serving veteran community members but is open to all looking to learn leadership skills and become licensed contractors to help them find employment and leadership opportunities in their communities. In the coming years, students will be selected to attend the program and receive apprenticeships in the skilled trades.
The Wells Fargo Foundation has been a Team Rubicon partner since 2021. Wells Fargo previously granted $2.5 million to Team Rubicon, allowing the humanitarian organization to quickly aid communities in the immediate days after a disaster or crisis.
For more information on Team Rubicon or to join the mission, visit TeamRubiconUSA.org.
Team Rubicon is a veteran‑led humanitarian organization that serves global communities before, during and after disasters and crises. Founded after the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the organization has grown to more than 160,000 volunteers across the United States and has launched more than 1,100 operations domestically and internationally.
To drive equity across disaster and humanitarian services, Team Rubicon focuses on three areas of impact: disaster services, from mitigation to immediate response to recovery; rebuild services, maintaining the fabric of communities through resilient building methods; and international services, providing emergent and surge medical services, WASH and disaster risk reduction.
The organization is featured in the Roku original series titled “Team Rubicon,” which highlights the work of Greyshirt volunteers helping communities across the country.