Wolverine is hosting its own signing day to encourage more young people to pursue careers in skilled trades.
Through a continued partnership with SkillsUSA, the 140-year-old boot and clothing company is hosting its own National Signing Day on May 4 with the head football coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines, Jim Harbaugh, to speak to students and inspire them with the same work ethic he is known to instill in his players.
Harbaugh, alongside five University of Michigan football players, will attend the annual Signing Day event at the Bay-Arenac ISD Career Center in Bay City, Michigan.
Coach Harbaugh said in a statement that he is “proud” to be a part of this “impactful” event with the Wolverine brand to celebrate these young people in the same way that student athletes are celebrated for committing to a four-year university. “It’s important to recognize and encourage those who are pursuing careers in the skilled trades as this is a critical industry that keeps our country running,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no better place off the field for my players and me to rally around our blue-collar work ethic than at SkillsUSA Signing Day.”
“The partnership with Wolverine and the Michigan Wolverines began because of our shared values around hard work, dedication and grit,” added Scott Schoessel, VP of marketing at Wolverine. “Coach Harbaugh’s involvement at SkillsUSA Signing Day will amplify our partnership as his attendance will surely inspire and infuse confidence to students across the nation as they embark on their career in the skilled trades.”
According to Schoessel, the event is designed to support thousands of high school students across the nation as they sign their letter of intent, committing to further their education with a trade program in residential wiring, building trades and renovations, HVAC or plumbing, and more. In 2022, over 1,000 students in 33 states participated in Signing Day.
“Skilled trades are really struggling in this country in terms of the number of people making the decision to go into this workforce,” Schoessel told FN in an interview. “Obviously, many of us are told as we grew up that the only way to succeed is a four-year degree at a traditional college. And as a result of that, the landscape will continue to change pretty significantly over the next 10 years, with about 6.5 million skilled trade jobs that go unfilled.”
Schoessel added that the event is meant to inspire kids and get them excited about what they’re doing with this commitment. “These students are taking the path less traveled, so to speak,” he said. “Only 9 percent of kids are going into skilled trades at this stage of the game. So we’ve got a lot of work to do to build awareness and participation in that decision-making process. But this event is just a great way to celebrate those kids.”
Wolverine isn’t stopping there. As an official sponsor of SkillsUSA National Signing Day, Wolverine will be donating $75,000 to the SkillsUSA Hope Fund on this day. This contribution will reward SkillsUSA Signing Day students through financial support that will enable them to attend the SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference.
This is the latest initiative that Wolverine has taken to promote skilled trades. In August, Wolverine launched its second collaboration with the Ram Truck brand, which featured a range of American-made boots, clothing and accessories. Along with this collection, Wolverine donated $75,000 to the SkillsUSA Hope Fund in honor of Labor Day.