Students at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology try on donated Wolverine boots Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 in Okmulgee, Okla. Wolverine visited OSUIT as part of their Project Bootstrap, bringing awareness to the growing skills gap. (Brandi Simons/AP Images for Wolverine)

Wolverine’s Project Bootstrap continued to shed light at the growing skills gap at its most recent event on December 6. Wolverine partnered with Academy Sports + Outdoors to give over 300 students enrolled in the School of Construction Technology at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology [OSUIT] a pair of work boots, as well as lunch and other giveaways.

Wolverine Project Bootstrap at OSU Institute of Technology

At the event, members from Wolverine’s marketing, sales and product development teams talked with students, and learned more about their passions and what led them to the skilled trades. “Your boots get torn up and worn out pretty quickly,” said Austin Hope, a high voltage lineman student at OSUIT. “Wolverine giving us a pair helps us out financially.” Students at OSUIT focus on applied technologies, and in the School of Construction Technology, students specialize in key facets of the residential or commercial construction industry that allows them to be positioned for long-term career advancements including fields like construction management, electric, HVAC, high voltage lineman, etc.

Wolverine Project Bootstrap at OSU Institute of Technology

“We have been really fortunate to speak directly with students studying at OSUIT, and learn about their passions for the skilled trade industry,” said Michael Boss, Wolverine’s digital marketing specialist. “We’re excited to partner with OSUIT, as well as Academy, to shed light on a growing problem while also recognizing the students who are making the commitment to go into the skilled trades.”

As part of the third year of Project Bootstrap, Wolverine is focusing their efforts on recognizing and preparing the next generation of skilled workers and will donate 2000 boots directly to students at trade schools across the country. OSUIT is the second school that Wolverine has visited this year on their mission to draw attention to the growing skills gap. Studies suggest that 2 million jobs will go unfilled in the next 8 years due to the lack of skilled workers. Wolverine previously visited The American College of Building Arts, and has partnered with MikeRoweWORKS Foundation and This Old House to thank and recognize those who are choosing to go into the skilled trades.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to receive a pair of Wolverine work boots that most will wear on the jobsite,” said Steve Olmstead, Dean of the School of Construction Technologies at OSUIT. “For some of our students, securing additional funding to purchase boots for their first internship can be challenging.”

Wolverine Project Bootstrap at OSU Institute of Technology

Academy Sports + Outdoors is a sports, outdoor, and recreation lifestyle retailer based in Texas, with more than 240 stores throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. They have previously partnered with Wolverine on Project Bootstrap events in Cypress, Texas.

Project Bootstrap will be stopping at additional schools throughout 2018. To learn more about the students who are closing the skills gap, visit Wolverine’s Project Bootstrap page.

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