June 4th, 2021 by Editor
At the onset of Pride Month, door and window manufacturer Andersen Corp., announced it has joined the Human Rights Campaign Business Coalition for the Equality Act (H.R.5).
In doing so, Andersen joins a growing coalition of companies calling for passage of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would modernize our nation’s civil rights laws by including explicit protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people, as well as improve protections for women, people of color and people of all faiths.
“Every person has a right to equality and to live without fear of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Jay Lund, chairman and CEO of Andersen Corporation. “We committed to this cause, with the support of our employees, because we truly believe the best future comes when every person has equal opportunity to achieve their full potential.”
The Minnesota-based company is committed to furthering its culture of inclusion in support of and allyship with its LGBTQ+ workforce, advancing internal equity policies and programs to support existing LGBTQ+ employees, and attracting new talent.
“We call on Congress to move this important piece of legislature forward and help ensure every one of Andersen’s 10,000 employees and their loved ones, including those who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community, have the same protections and opportunities,” Lund continued.
Andersen shares its policy publicly on its website, making it visible to job candidates, customers, vendors and homeowners.
“While we’ve come a long way in the fight for equality, millions of people are still vulnerable to discrimination because of who they are and who they love,” said Alan Bernick, senior vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, who is also executive sponsor of Andersen’s PRIDE+ employee resource network. “Our country must guarantee non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people by moving forward on this landmark legislation.”
The company also committed to participating in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality. Through participation in the CEI, Andersen is creating more transparency regarding internal policies and communicating its commitment to an LGBTQ+ workforce.
“In my role, we teach the importance of inclusivity when first engaging with our customers which sets up the rest of their experience with Andersen,” said Benjamin Amundson, a member of Andersen’s PRIDE+ employee resource network who is a retail marketing representative at Renewal by Andersen. “The intentionality Andersen has put into creating an equitable and inclusive environment has been inspiring to witness — we’re making giant strides to make our workplace a different and better environment for all.”
Andersen isn’t the only company under the greater homebuilding umbrella that’s taking steps to support communities that face barriers to employment and education. The Home Depot Foundation and its trades training nonprofit partner, Home Builders Institute (HBI), are launching a strategic partnership with 100 Black Men of America, Inc. to increase skilled trades training and career opportunities for Black youth.
This fall, the three organizations will launch a pilot trades training program serving marginalized communities across Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The program will offer skill building workshops, work experience, internship opportunities and industry-recognized PACT certifications. The programs are set to prepare Black youth for meaningful careers and will be facilitated through 100 Black Men of America’s existing afterschool programs.
Additionally, The Home Depot Foundation activated a new partnership with its hometown nonprofit partner, Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE). RICE is driven by community impact and devoted to empowering Black entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Foundation will provide construction support for an outdoor creativity space at the RICE facility called, “The Yard.”
“As we work to fill the nearly 300,000 open career opportunities across the skilled trades industry, we have to continue advocating for the inclusion of diverse talent,” said Shannon Gerber, executive director of The Home Depot Foundation. “The Foundation is energized to team up with Home Builders Institute, 100 Black Men of America, Inc. and The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs to focus on eliminating racial and social inequities through education and workforce development programs.”
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2020 shows that skilled labor industries are dominated by white males, while Black people and women are disproportionately underrepresented. Black tradespeople represent only six percent of the construction, architecture and engineering workforces.
“We are thrilled to receive this generous grant from Home Depot. This investment will help us expand our youth workforce and career readiness initiatives with a specific focus on the building trades that are so vital to the economic recovery,” said Chuck Baker, chairman of the board, 100 Black Men of the Bay Area.
“The most important thing we will achieve through this partnership is to give young people a chance to work hard at work worth doing,” said Tadar Muhammad, HBI’s senior vice president for strategic partnerships and development. “We know that when our students acquire marketable trade skills, we give them a shot at improving every element of their lives and the lives around them.”