Recruiting At-Risk Youth to Contractor Supplies Distribution: Franklinton Rising

Guest Blog by NetPlus Alliance Distributor, Jay Amstutz, Ohio Power Tool via

Over the past 20 years the Skilled Trades, including industrial and contractor supplies distribution, have become less and less pursued as a career path for many high schoolers who look at college as the only next step. The result has been a serious gap in the labor pool coming from the next generation for these well-paying jobs. A recent Forbes article presented an interesting history of how/why Vocational Training has disappeared from high schools and why we need to bring them back. Quick numbers from article: 68% teens start college, 40% of those never complete a degree and 33% of those that get a degree never use them. That means less than 1/3 of high school students actually go to college and get jobs in field they studied. Meanwhile the country has a massive shortage of skilled carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc most with a starting salaries (after apprenticeships) higher than your average college graduates.

This is the unfortunate situation for students lucky enough where college (and the high costs associated) is an option. For many youth however college was just never looked at as an option for financial, academic and other factors. Many in this situation have not had mentors to teach them anything about basic handyman or mechanic skills and with no way to get started, Skill Trades are unfortunately not really considered as an option either. Franklinton Rising is a new program which looks to bridge that gap and provide At-Risk Youth an opportunity that we think makes a lot of sense.

The Franklinton Rising Program: Training in Industrial Distribution and Other Skilled Trades

The program works with 5-10 young adults at a time to send them through the basic curriculum of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Training Center which gives them some basic comfort with tools and focuses a lot on safety. Once this training is complete they start learning hands on by actually doing complete renovations on homes in Franklinton area. Of course this would not be possible without some really great support from the professionals actually doing the work. The Roofing Company Muth Roofing, Plumbing WaterWorks, Heating/Cooling CustomAir, Lumber/Materials Strait & Lamp Group, Mooney & Mosses among many others. These companies are sending their senior staff (with training experience) to work with these youth and actually teach them their trade on the job while doing the work.

This program actually provides one of the best pathways to a career we’ve seen for any high school aged person. Of course the ABC Training Center encourages these students to continue their training through any of their dozen apprenticeship programs while they work and earn a living. A serious student could be working as a full licensed professional making $50-60K before others their age would ever finish college. This is good for recruiting into the industrial and contractor supplies distribution industry.

Ohio Power Tool Franklinton
To get these student start Ohio Power Tool and Milwaukee Tool have teamed up to provide each student a very nice set of Milwaukee & Stiletto hand tools as well as some additional safety items upon completion of their basic ABC classes. This past week we say the first class of students get to this point with next class starting now!


Milwaukee 6-n-1 Combination Stripper Pliers – 48-22-3069
Milwaukee 10” Electrican’s Torpedo Level – 48-22-5009
Milwaukee 6 Piece Screwdriver Set – 48-22-2006
Milwaukee FASTBACK Flip Utility Knife – 48-22-1901
Milwaukee 25’ Magnatic Tape Measure – 48-22-5125
Milwaukee 9” Lineman’s Pliers w/ Crimper – 48-22-6100
Milwaukee 8” Diagonal Cutter Pliers – 48-22-6108
Milwaukee Hex Key Driver SAE – 48-22-2104
Milwaukee (x2) 10” Strait Jaw Pliers – 48-22-6310
Milwaukee Rasping Jab Saw – 48-22-0304
Milwaukee Electrician’s Tool Pouch – 48-55-8100
Milwaukee Laser Temp Gun – 2266-20
Milwaukee Voltage Detector – 2202-20
Stiletto 10oz Titanium Hammer – FH10C

Why Franklinton?

The Franklinton area itself is very unique, it has an incredibly desirable proximity to downtown, Grandview, Short North, Brewery District, German Village and other attractive Columbus locations. While the area has been very depressed for many years there is a strong revitalization within the last couple years which include art communities such as 400 West Right and Glass Axis as well as the world’s largest maker space Idea Foundry. The Land Grant Brewery also recently opened its doors along with several other bars and restaurants in the area. Franklinton is also home to a long list of festivals and community events which are all combining to really create an exciting energy in the area. That being said the housing is still pretty far behind with many many abandoned & boarded up homes in the area.

The Franklinton Rising program actually estimates even after putting significant money in to get these homes into decent livable shape they still may not even be worth as much as the cost of rehab. So while it is a terrific opportunity for a training platform and very much helps the community as a whole it is not yet an attractive proposition for others to come in and rehab similar homes. We could see this changing as this revitalization continues and with more businesses moving to Franklinton, more people will want to live there as well.

What You Can Do
If this is a cause you’d like to help support of course you can donate (as little as $10 here) or help share this story on social media. Our hope would be that more programs like this are started across the country and we can help fix the skilled trade shortage, including in the contractor supplies distribution market, while giving an opportunity to those more At-Risk Youth.