Home Depot is announcing this morning that it is donating $50 million to the Home Builders Institute, that will be used to train 20,000 people as construction workers.

USA Today reports that the money will be used “to train veterans and U.S. Army soldiers who will soon be returning to civilian life, high school students and disadvantaged youth.” According to the story, “The initiative … also builds on the company’s donation of $250 million through 2020 to provide housing to veterans. Soldiers and veterans will make up about 15,000 of the 20,000 construction workers turned out by the training program.”

There’s a hard business truth at the core of the donation - that, as USA Today writes, “Sales at the nation’s largest home-improvement retailer are dampened if contractors and partners can’t find enough workers to undertake projects. Sales to plumbers and other tradespeople comprise 40% of the company’s revenue.”

KC's View: This is admirable on a number of levels - the commitment to veterans and the disadvantaged, and an understanding that if this works, it isn’t charity. It is an investment in the future.

Every retailer should look around for opportunities in a variety of categories to make similar investments.