Explore The Trades: 2023 in Review

The mission of Explore The Trades is to bridge the technical talent gap to the service trades of plumbing, heating, cooling, and electric. Learn about the ways in which the organization helped bring the trades to over 150,000 students last year.

Thank you to those who supported this mission in 2023 and we invite you to make your mark on the future of the skilled trades in 2024 through various giving opportunities.

Skills Lab Program Adds 11 Schools in 2023

Eleven equipment grants were announced on May 3, 2023, impacting 10 high schools and one middle school around the United States. Since 2021, over 1,100 students at 14 schools throughout the United States have started their trades education through the “Explore The Trades Skills Lab, Built by Ferguson” initiative. Both Explore The Trades and Ferguson are committed to strengthening the trades of plumbing and HVAC.

Congratulations to the following recipients!
  • Bronx Design & Construction High School – Plumbing (New York)
  • Carroll County Career & Technical Center – HVAC (Maryland)
  • Franklin County High School – Plumbing (Virginia)
  • Hastings High School – Plumbing (Michigan)
  • Lyman High School – Plumbing (Florida)
  • Milford Mill Academy – Plumbing (Maryland)
  • Roxbury High School – Plumbing (New Jersey)
  • Somerset County Technical High School – HVAC (Maryland)
  • SVHEC Career Tech Academy – HVAC (Virginia)
  • West Lincoln Middle School – Plumbing (North Carolina)
  • Western School of Technology & Environmental Science – Plumbing (Maryland)
Milford Mill Academy, MD

Bridging the Technical Talent Gap with Classroom Kits

Launched in 2023, “More Than An Elective” is a program exclusively for educators and school counselors. Education partners receive a kit for classroom use as a comprehensive source of information for educators and counselors to reference when working with students.

The “More Than An Elective” classroom kit consists of content created by Explore The Trades and covers the following topics: plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical career paths, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and its relation to the trades, general industry facts, the correlation between high school classes and the trades, and more.

Over 180 schools are currently participating in the program with an impact of over 13,000 students and parents viewing the information each year!

Learn more and sign-up today.

FREE Poster Kits

Explore The Trades expanded our reach in classrooms throughout North America through our FREE poster kits. A total of over 2,400 kits have been sent to more than 1,700 classrooms in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces. Through data collection, an estimated 400,000 students have been impacted by this tool!

Trades Professionals and Industry Partners

Thank you to all our partners in 2023! Our partners are essential to the success of Explore The Trades efforts’ to bridge the technical talent gap in the plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical trades. Support from industry-leading companies and residential service businesses make accomplishing our mission possible and are leading the way in in growing the skilled trades industry.


SandCastle Foundation, a private family foundation in Minnesota, awarded a $10,000 grant to Explore The Trades for general operating support.

Bradford White Water Heaters awarded an $8,000 grant award to Explore The Trades to support poster kits for educators and counselors. To learn more about the grant from Bradford White Water Heaters and the company’s Industry Forward charitable giving program, click this link.

brandford white logo

Events in Education

SkillsUSA in Atlanta, GA  

 Explore The Trades attended the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta, GA from June 19-22, 2023. This conference brought together over 15,000 students, educators, industry vendors and trades professionals from all over the country. In addition, Explore The Trades got the chance to meet Plumber Paige, a social media influencer, business owner and skilled trades advocate.

Names noted left to right. Executive Director Kate Cinnamo, Paige Knowles (Plumber Paige) and Project Coordinator Maddy Sorenson at SkillsUSA

ASCA in Atlanta, GA

Explore The Trades attended the American School Counselors Association Conference in Austin, TX from July 15-18, 2023. Executive Director Kate Cinnamo, Donor Engagement Specialist Toni Bower, and Explore The Trades Trustee President Lara Beltz of Beltz Home Service Co. attended and had great conversations about the importance of the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical trades with educators and counselors from around the nation. Through these great connections, 160 different participants signed up for our “More Than An Elective” program!

Names noted left to right. Donor Engagement Specialist Toni Bower, Explore The Trades Trustee President Lara Beltz, and Executive Director Kate Cinnamo at ASCA

Thank you again to all our supporters in 2023, and we invite you to join us as we grow and expand further in the new year!