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Wolverine Inspires High School Students to Explore Opportunities in the Skilled Trades
Wolverine partners with unCommon Construction to create collaboration boot and speaker series calling on students, consumers, schools and parents to join them in building the next generation of skilled trades workers

ROCKFORD, Mich., Jan. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- At a time when high school students across the country are making decisions about their future, Wolverine, the boot and clothing brand, is focused on driving awareness around the untapped opportunity of skilled trade careers, and inspiring young people to learn more about the skilled trades as a path.

In partnership with unCommon Construction—a nonprofit organization that works with high school apprentices to build houses and gain technical, professional and personal skills—Wolverine is launching a special-edition collaboration collection to benefit high school students interested in pursuing careers in the skilled trades. The initiative is part of Wolverine's Project Bootstrap program, which has celebrated and supported those choosing to pursue a path in the skilled trades through a variety of efforts including scholarships and educational awareness initiatives since 2014.

As the skills gap continues to grow, the demand for trades workers has never been greater. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1, marketplace demand for skilled trades will continue growing through 2030, resulting in nearly 400,000 new jobs. However, according to a new Wolverine survey ², the pipeline of new trades professionals doesn't align with the demand.

  • While almost three-quarters (72%) of current high school students believe it's important to consider alternative options to a traditional 4-year college, just 30% of students have considered vocational/trade schools.
  • More than half (51%) say "I don't know enough about it" as their reason for not considering enrolling.
  • At the same time, four in five (79%) of students said they believe vocational skills should be taught in high schools, indicating interest in learning more about the skills needed to fulfill careers in the trades.

"It's imperative we reach students in more relevant ways so they can learn more about the skilled trades and consider them as a potential future path," said Tom Kennedy, global brand president for Wolverine. "Organizations like unCommon Construction introduce kids to the rich opportunities to be found in the trades that they aren't learning about in school."

As part of this initiative, the unCommon Construction apprentices collaborated with the bootmaker to develop a new unCommon Construction boot, designed after months spent wearing boots on the job, learning practical trade skills and building houses in New Orleans.

"At unCommon Construction, we see first-hand the interest and excitement young people experience learning about the opportunities they have in the skilled trades," said Aaron Frumin, founder and executive director of unCommon Construction. "It's rewarding to continue to partner with a brand like Wolverine that also recognizes the value of raising awareness of the trades while giving students the tools and access they need to be successful."

The expanded Project Bootstrap initiative is targeted directly to high school students who are still trying to decide on post-high school plans, knowing that the only way to close the skills gap is by connecting with future members of the skilled workforce. The program includes:

  • unCommon Collection & Funding Scholarships: The Wolverine x unCommon Construction boot and apparel collection is available starting today on, and a portion of proceeds from each pair of boots or full collection kits will go toward funding new apprenticeships for the unCommon Construction program to further trades education for young people.
  • unCommon Educational Speaker Series: Aaron Frumin will speak to high schools to highlight the value of the skilled trades and how organizations like unCommon Construction are paving the way for high school students to be inspired by the opportunities available in the trades. Students and educators can request additional information on having Aaron speak at their high school by visiting
  • Digital Awareness Campaign: Wolverine will launch an awareness campaign targeted toward high schoolers featuring opportunities within the skilled trades. Social influencers across key platforms (TikTok, Instagram) will post their experiences and the brand will share content featuring unCommon Construction Apprentices further amplified with paid media directly to the high school audience.
  • Trades Education Resources: Students, parents and educators can access a virtual toolbox of resources about pursuing a rewarding career path within the skilled trades at

Step up to help build the next generation of trades workers, by visiting to find more resources to help young people explore the trades and purchase the Wolverine x unCommon Construction Collection.

Wolverine, the 138-year-old boot and clothing company, is on a mission to honor the spirit and tenacity of the American worker and build the next generation of skilled trades people. Wolverine has contributed more than $1.3 million over the last 5 years to organizations in support of the skilled trades. For more information, visit Wolverine is a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE: WWW)

unCommon Construction is a nonprofit that uses the build process to empower youth to lead the workforce after high school or college. Through unCommon's high school apprenticeship program, students from different schools apply to join a diverse team to earn hourly pay and school credit for building a house together. Revenue from each project is used to match apprentice earnings with an "Equity Award" scholarship for further education, training, or the tools they need for a full-time job. With more than 100 hours of work-based learning experience per semester, unCommon Apprentices graduate with the skills, network, resources, and experience to build a successful career and life. To learn more, follow @uCCNOLA on Facebook and Instagram and visit

1 Source:

²Data from a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Wolverine from December 16 to December 21, 2021, with a panel of 2,000 American high school students.


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Jake Moore,