Kitchen & Bath Brands Doing Good
December 18, 2023
Kitchen & Bath Brands Doing Good
From housing to education to public health causes, here’s a look at how some kitchen & bath brands are doing good and giving back to the community.
Doing Good: Ferguson
As the horizon approaches where the entire baby boomer generation will reach retirement eligibility by 2030, an exciting opportunity presents itself: the chance to redefine the skilled trades landscape. While the shortage of skilled professionals is being felt, the next five years offer a promising era for transformation.
With a building boom on the horizon, ongoing efforts to encourage young talent to explore trade careers gain traction. However, there remains a collective understanding that more work lies ahead. This pursuit demands innovation, the removal of barriers, and, most importantly, the integration of underrepresented groups, notably women. In an industry where women constitute just 10 percent of the U.S. construction workforce, it’s evident that there’s untapped potential awaiting exploration. Stepping into this realm with fervor, Ferguson has come forward as a founding sponsor of Women in Plumbing and Piping (WiPP), an organization poised to catalyze positive change by fostering community, empowerment and resounding success among women in the skilled trades.
“The timing for women to enter the skilled trades has never been better,” explained Melissa Hazelwood, director of social impact at Ferguson. “With the recent federal investments in upgrading our country’s infrastructure, available training and just the sheer volume of career openings – the opportunities for women are limitless. We’re thrilled to partner with Women in Plumbing and Piping to help attract more women to and support the women currently in the industry.”
“While more women are joining the trades there remains less than 4% of women who work as plumbers and pipefitters,” said Kim Gill, WiPP executive director. “There’s a real opportunity to close the skilled labor gap by creating awareness of these fulfilling careers, recruiting women into them and then supporting these women to keep them engaged. We are excited to work with Ferguson to attract and retain women into the industry with their support and through our collaboration.”
A Solution to the Skills Gap: As the baby boomer generation retires, the gap in skilled trades professionals becomes more pronounced. Often underrepresented in these fields, women emerge as a dynamic force capable of addressing this disparity. By embracing diverse talent, the trades industry can leverage women’s expertise to bridge the impending skills shortage.
Diverse Skills, Fresh Perspectives: The infusion of diverse viewpoints spurs innovation. Women bring unique problem-solving approaches and fresh perspectives, which can drive creative solutions in an industry that often requires adaptability and ingenuity.
Enhanced Collaboration and Communication: Teams that reflect a spectrum of backgrounds and perspectives tend to collaborate more effectively. In an industry that thrives on teamwork, including women can lead to better communication, cooperation, and, ultimately, project success.
Strong Role Models: The presence of women in leadership positions within skilled trades can serve as aspirational models for younger generations. When women succeed in these fields, it paves the way for others to follow suit, creating a self-sustaining diversity cycle.
Ferguson’s collaboration with WiPP is more than an alliance; it’s a commitment to shaping a more inclusive future for the skilled trades. The WiPP initiative championed by Ferguson is poised to transform the skilled trades landscape. Its four pillars—mentorship, education, networking and recognition – reflect a comprehensive strategy for integrating more women into the industry. This multifaceted approach attracts women and equips them with the tools needed to excel.
Mentorship: WiPP’s mentorship programs provide an empowering environment for women to receive guidance from seasoned professionals. These initiatives offer a lifeline for newcomers navigating the intricacies of a predominantly male sector.
Education: WiPP’s emphasis on education equips women with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their roles. This investment not only propels individual careers but also elevates the collective capabilities of the industry.
Networking: WiPP creates networking platforms that foster connections, collaboration and knowledge sharing. These networks cultivate relationships that contribute to personal growth and professional advancement.
Recognition: WiPP’s ultimate goal is to empower and recognize women with pathways to success.
As the skilled trades industry braces for the impact of retiring baby boomers, including underrepresented groups, particularly women, becomes a paramount consideration. With a forward-looking approach, Ferguson’s collaboration with Women in Plumbing and Piping exemplifies the positive change that’s possible. Integrating women in skilled trades isn’t just a step towards gender equality; it’s an investment in a more resilient, innovative and prosperous industry. Through initiatives that foster community, empowerment and growth, the trades can undoubtedly create a brighter future with women at its core.
Doing Good: MasterBrand
MasterBrand, Inc., the largest residential cabinet manufacturer in North America, is participating in Habitat for Humanity’s 2023 Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project and will serve as the project’s exclusive cabinet provider.
“MasterBrand believes in giving back to our local communities. That is why our associates participate in Habitat for Humanity events from coast to coast – and some have done so for more than two decades. We are extremely excited to be participating in the 2023 Carter Work Project and supporting Habitat in a more focused way,” said Dave Banyard, MasterBrand president and CEO.
As a Platinum Partner, MasterBrand is providing support in three ways: kitchen and bath design, product donations and employee volunteers to help build a 27-home community in Charlotte, N.C. The Carter Work Project is a marquee event for Habitat for Humanity, a global nonprofit housing organization, and MasterBrand’s partnership will directly support Charlotte families in a meaningful way.
In the months leading up to the event, MasterBrand’s design team worked with Habitat to custom design layouts for each of the 27 homes being built.
“The kitchen is the heart of the home – and the cabinets are the backdrop for everything from family gatherings at holidays to daily meal prep and homework. We’ve designed these kitchens to combine long-lasting quality, durability, great looks, and the organizational features that help busy families,” said Leslie Haefling, MasterBrand’s lead designer for the Carter Work Project.
MasterBrand’s product donations include full setups for kitchens, baths and some laundry rooms in the 27 homes. To round out the Company’s support, a group of 20 MasterBrand employees from the local Charlotte, N.C. area and other parts of the country will be on-site during the five-day build event to help with home construction.
“MasterBrand’s mission is to build better experiences together for communities and homeowners, and providing both products and volunteer time to Habitat is just one of the ways we are fulfilling that mission,” Banyard said.
Doing Good: Zurn Elkay
Zurn Elkay Water Solutions has donated $2.2 million of Elkay drinking water filters to support the City of Milwaukee’s and the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) ongoing commitment to providing safer, cleaner drinking water to students, staff and community members.
Mayor Cavalier Johnson, MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley and Zurn Elkay Water Solutions Chairman and CEO Todd A. Adams celebrated the signing of a five-year support agreement between MPS and Zurn Elkay.
As part of the agreement to convert all existing MPS drinking fountains and bottle filling stations to Elkay filtration, Zurn Elkay will donate to MPS up to 3,250 filters annually through the 2027-28 school year to ensure that MPS’s drinking fountains and bottle filling stations stay filtered, giving students, staff and community members access to safer, cleaner water at school.
“The health and safety of our students is a top priority for Milwaukee Public Schools. The district began filtering water in our schools seven years ago,” Dr. Posley said. “Zurn Elkay’s generous gift to MPS will help ensure that students and staff all across the district continue to have the safest possible drinking water.”
Headquartered in the heart of Milwaukee’s Clean Water Technology Hub, Zurn Elkay aspires to provide the safest and most efficient water solutions to protect human health and the environment. Its Elkay drinking fountains and bottle filling stations are manufactured in Illinois, and its filters are tested and certified to NSF/ANSI 42 and 53 to reduce lead and other harmful contaminants. Since 2012, use of Elkay bottle filling stations has avoided the use of more than 76 billion single-use plastic bottles.
“For kids in Milwaukee and all across the country, school buildings are more than a place for education and social development: they’re a primary source of drinking water, and Zurn Elkay is here to help schools provide the cleanest, safest drinking water we can,” Adams said. “As a proud, Milwaukee-based company, we’re grateful that MPS has trusted Zurn Elkay with the opportunity to help ensure every MPS student, teacher and staff member has access to safer, cleaner drinking water.”
In 2016, MPS voluntarily began testing drinking water in all of its facilities. Following the test results, MPS announced that all schools in the district would be provided with filtration for their water fountains. Today’s announcement reflects an expansion of this commitment, with MPS using federal ESSER funding to purchase an additional 700 Elkay bottle filling stations, increasing its total count of Elkay filtered drinking fountains and bottle filling stations to more than 3,200.
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