More corporate expansion at Milwaukee Tool
Milwaukee Tool is on the precipice of another expansion project at its Brookfield, Wis. headquarters.
The company has planned a new 114,500 square-foot, multi-story building that would be placed on an existing 3.5 acre lot owned by the power tool manufacturer. The move would bring the company’s global headquarter space from 190,000 square feet to a proposed total of 504,000 square feet.
In recent years Milwaukee Tool has been vibrantly expanding its Brookfield headquarters with more than 300 jobs added in 2011 and nearly 1,300 positions this year. The latest announced expansion would create another 350 positions in the next 5 years with an average annual salary of $75,000.
“We must grow or die. We are committed to delivering a world-class work environment to attract, retain, and recruit the best talent in the world.” said Steve Richman, Milwaukee Tool Group president. “This investment is necessary for Milwaukee Tool to continue to deliver disruptive innovation and deliver on our commitment to users and distribution partners in driving productivity on the jobsite.”
The City of Brookfield is proposing a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, which would provide $3.5 million in TIF assistance to project costs estimated at over $32 million. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is also working with Milwaukee Tool on possible incentives for the project.
This past December, Milwaukee Tool announced that it was expanding operations at three Mississippi locations, investing $33.4 million and creating 660 jobs.
Tax reform hurts Toro earnings
The Toro Company reported first quarter 2018 net sales increased 6.3% to $548.2 million from net sales of $515.8 million in the first quarter of 2017.
The Bloomington, Minn.-based outdoor power equipment manufacturer also reported first quarter net earnings of $22.6 million, significantly down from first quarter 2017 net earnings of $45 million. Toro reported that net earnings for the quarter include one-time charges from U.S. tax reform and adjusted net earnings were $52.1 million. The reported tax rate for the first quarter was 66% percent compared to 24.5% last year, according to Toro.
Professional segment net sales for the first quarter were $403.7 million, up 8.6% from $371.8 million last year. Toro said sales of zero-turn riding mowers in its landscape business increased as the channel prepares for the spring selling season.
Residential segment net sales for the first quarter were $142.5 million, up 1.5% from $140.4 million last year. Below average snowfall early in the season, combined with below average snow events in the Midwest, negatively impacted sales of Toro’s residential snow thrower products, the company said.
Lowe’s launches workforce development program
With a labor shortage haunting America’s construction and home building industries, Lowe's Companies, Inc. is getting serious about workforce development.
Today the Mooresville, N.C.-based home improvement giant announced “Track to the Trades,” a new labor development initiative designed to provide innovative career alternatives and financial support for employees to pursue a skilled trade.
The program will be supported in partnership with Guild Education, a Denver, Colo.-based adult education company.
Under terms of the program, Lowe’s will offer employees upfront tuition funding for trade skill certification, academic coaching and support, and placement opportunities for full-time pre-apprenticeships in Lowe's nationwide contractor network. Employees can also opt to continue their career growth with Lowe's, the company said.
The program will debut March 1 through a four-city pilot program, including Charlotte, N.C., Denver, Pittsburgh, Pa., and Richmond, Va. Lowe’s then plans to expand the program to qualified part-time and full-time employees nationwide by the end of 2018.
Eligible employees will receive up to $2,500 to gain a certification and serve as a pre-apprentice in carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing or appliance repair careers. Pre-apprenticeships take approximately six to 10 months, and participants will also receive enrollment guidance and a field mentor.
"The trade profession is a high-demand, high-opportunity field for the next generation workforce, and today, there is a massive unmet need," said Jennifer Weber, Lowe's chief human resources officer. "With Track to the Trades, we are providing unique career alternatives for our associates while also building a pipeline for the next generation of skilled trade workers, allowing us to better meet the demands of customers while creating long-term educational benefits and economic opportunity for our people."
Lowe's said that recent analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that the nation will experience a skilled trades gap of more than a half million jobs across construction-related fields by 2026.
"Lowe's is leading the way on pre-apprenticeship models that prepare employees for jobs of the future, both while working at Lowe's and beyond in their careers," said Guild Education CEO, Rachel Carlson. "The education pathways offered by Lowe's eliminate the all-to-common false choice between trades programs and advancement in higher education. At Guild, we're honored to be working with the Lowe's team on this first-of-a-kind partnership."
Lowe's operates and services more than 2,370 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.