This Old House Ventures, LLC Launches Philanthropic Initiative To Empower and Educate the Next Generation of Skilled Tradespeople

Nov 15, 2016
Number One Multi-Platform Home Improvement Brand Commits all its Assets and Talent to Generation Next; New Partnership with the mikeroweWORKS Foundation Encourages Young People to Join the Trades

Stamford, CT, November 15, 2016 – This Old House Ventures, LLC announced today the launch of a new charitable campaign, Generation Next, with the goal of encouraging and empowering young people to join skilled trades.  Generation Next will help raise money from companies and trade associations serving the home construction and renovation industry to support scholarships for students pursuing careers as carpenters, electricians, roofers, masons and plumbers.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation will receive all funds raised by the Generation Next campaign, which will support the Foundation’s 2017 Work Ethic Scholarship Program.  The Work Ethic Scholarship Program provides scholarships to people getting trained for skilled jobs that are in demand.  As CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe started the Foundation to debunk myths about the skilled trades and work hard to help close the skills gap.

“I’m excited for the chance to mentor the next generation of craftsmen and women,” comments Norm Abram, Master Craftsman. “What a great opportunity for ‘This Old House’ and our partners to inspire more young adults to pursue rewarding careers in the building trades.”

As the current workforce continues to age and the existing pool of tradespeople shrinks, the need for skilled workers continues to grow. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 3.1 million unfilled skilled labor jobs today with an additional 2.5 million expected by 2017. In an effort to close the gap, Generation Next will be promoted across all the brand’s platforms and put the award-winning cast and expert tradesmen from “This Old House” front and center to dispel myths about skilled jobs; shed light on the surprising benefits, rewards, and opportunities that middle-skills careers can provide; and give young people a path to pursue careers in the building trades.

Round one of scholarship fundraising to industry partners has already begun with American Standard, InSinkErator, HomeAdvisor and Carhartt on-board as the first major sponsors. The January/February 2017 issue of This Old House magazine will feature a cover story about the campaign with a dedicated channel on profiling successful tradespeople and the mikeroweWORKS Foundation’s past Work Ethic Scholarship recipients. Regular segments on “This Old House,” currently in its 37th season, will feature young craftsman and apprentices working alongside the show’s expert crew. Promotional vignettes will air between “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” on PBS, and syndicated spots will run on “This Old House Classics.” Norm Abram and the “This Old House” team will make regular appearances at national and local events. In addition, an extensive social engagement campaign is planned to shine a continuous spotlight on the cause.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has signed on as early supporter and is committing scholarship money and a promotional platform at its KBIS/IBS Design & Construction Week trade show in Orlando, Florida, January 10-12.  Together, NKBA and This Old House will host an open reception with live and silent auction bidding for building products donated by supporters. All proceeds will benefit the mikeroweWORKS Foundation’s 2017 Work Ethic Scholarship recipients.

For its 2017-2018 season, “This Old House” is currently searching for a home to purchase, renovate, and sell with all profits from the sale to benefit the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. The entire process will be covered in real time, in the magazine, and on with live webcams, video shorts and recurring features of apprentices and up-and-coming tradespeople working side-by-side with the crew on the restoration.  In addition, viewers will be able to participate in the renovation process by voting on design options at  Viewer choices will be incorporated during construction of the home.

Eric Thorkilsen, CEO, This Old House Ventures, LLC added: “I am especially proud of the fact that as a company, and in partnership with the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, we have found a path to pay our work forward.”


This Old House Ventures, LLC is the number one multi-platform home enthusiast brand, serving over 62 million consumers each month with trusted information and expert advice through its award-winning television shows, “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House,” its highly regarded This Old House magazine and its inspiration and information-driven digital properties including “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” are produced by This Old House Ventures, LLC and are presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. National underwriting for “This Old House” television is provided by GMC, The Home Depot, State Farm Insurance Company, Lumber Liquidators, and Gorilla Glue. Established as This Old House Ventures, LLC, the company is headquartered in Stamford, CT, with offices in New York, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Concord, MA.

ABOUT mikeroweWORKS Foundation
The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works hard to debunk myths about the skilled trades and help close the skills gap. As CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe speaks regularly about the country’s dysfunctional relationship with work, the widening skills gap, and challenging the persistent belief that a four-year degree is automatically the best path for most people. Through its scholarship programs, the Foundation has helped grant more than $3 million in technical and/or vocational education for trade schools across the country. For more information, visit


*Source: ManpowerGroup 2015 Talent Shortage Survey; Associated General Contractors of America 2015 Survey

For any questions and suggestions, please contact:

Hunter PR

American Standard



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