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With Only 9 Percent of High School Students Pursuing Careers in the Trades, Wolverine Signs ‘Team Wolverine’ to Champion America’s Skilled Trade Workers

Wolverine, the Michigan-based footwear and apparel company, will sponsor three up-and-coming trade workers— a trim carpenter, apprentice electrician and timber framer— to help start their careers while also elevating perceptions of the trades

NEW YORK (Nov. 14, 2018) – A new Wolverine survey revealed that only nine percent of young people are entering the skilled trades, a reality that could slow the construction of America’s homes, roads, and buildings, and ultimately impact the country’s growing population. With more than six million unfilled U.S. jobs and less young people joining the trades, America is facing a “skills gap” where there are more skilled jobs available than qualified people to fill them.

Wolverine, known for making durable work boots for more than 135 years, is raising awareness for the trades as an attractive career path with their Project Bootstrap program. While originally visiting jobs sites and apprentice schools to thank those committed to the trades, this year Wolverine signed three up-and-coming trade workers from across the country to “Team Wolverine.” In addition to being the faces of the brand, Team Wolverine attended a signing day event on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in New York City with Mike Rowe.

The members of Team Wolverine include:

  • Nolee Anderson (Nashville, Tennessee): Nolee is a trim carpenter, mikeroweWORKS scholarship recipient, and founder of GRIT, a program that mentors young girls interested in the trades.
  • Hunter Allums (New Orleans, Louisiana): Hunter is an apprentice electrician whose interest in the trades began when he was introduced to unCommon Construction, a New Orleans non-profit that helps high school students learn real-world technical skills.
  • Andrew Lacy (Charleston, South Carolina): Andrew is a veteran who went back to school to attend the American College of Building Arts and become a timber framer.

“Supporting the skilled trades has always been important to us. Nolee, Andrew and Hunter represent the drive, grit and work ethic of those in the trades,” said Andrew Shripka, vice president of marketing for Wolverine. “We are committed to championing Team Wolverine this year and hope to inspire others to join them in 2019.”

Mike Rowe, best known as the executive producer and host of Dirty Jobs and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, attended and spoke at the event about society’s dysfunctional relationship with work and the belief that a four-year degree is the only path for most people.

“We know that America is facing a shortage of skilled trade workers—an issue that will only continue to grow if we don’t correct the misperceptions about life in the trades,” said Rowe. “Initiatives like Wolverine’s Project Bootstrap help show young people that the career values they want are readily available through the trades.”

The event featured interactive art installations that highlighted additional skills gap statistics from Wolverine’s survey, which included:

  • 69 percent of the high school students surveyed indicated that they are not familiar with careers in the skilled trades. Among those who were familiar, only 7 percent are very familiar.
  • When asked why high school students haven’t considered the trades more strongly, 45 percent said they just don’t know enough about it.
  • 81 percent of students said they feel some level of pressure to attend college, which comes from a variety of sources including parents and teachers
  • When it comes to job qualities they want, students indicated things like feeling independent, not sitting in a desk all day, and having job security—many of which align with what a job in the trades can provide.

Wolverine will continue to build Team Wolverine and advocate for the trades in 2019. To learn more about current team members and how you can join, visit



Wolverine is a Michigan-based footwear and apparel company that has been making durable work boots with the highest-quality materials for more than 135 years. Committed to supporting those in the skilled trades, Wolverine’s Project Bootstrap program visits job sites and trade schools, donating work boots to those who build America’s houses, roads and valuable infrastructure. In 2018, they formed Team Wolverine to support individuals that personify the drive, grit and work ethic of those in the trades to help close the skills gap. For more information, visit


The survey was commissioned by Wolverine and conducted by Edelman Intelligence, a full-service consumer research firm. Fielded between Sept. 21-Oct. 3, 2018, the online questionnaire surveyed 1,000 high school-aged students ages 16-18. As a member of The Insights Association in good standing, Edelman Intelligence conducts all research in accordance with MRA Marketing Research Standards and adheres to the CASRO Code of Standards and Ethics.


The mikeroweWORKS Foundation is a on a mission to help close the skills gap by highlighting the millions of vocational opportunities that people often overlook by publicly challenging myths and misperceptions about these jobs.  Through its scholarship programs, like the Work Ethic Scholarship Program, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation encourages people to learn the trades that help sustain civilized life and provides financial assistance to people willing to learn a trade that’s in demand.  Since its inception, the mikeroweWORKS Foundation has granted, or helped facilitated the granting of, more than $5 million in technical and vocational education for trade schools across the country.

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