The Builders Exchange Program Aims to Connect Real-World and Virtual-World Builders to Help Close the Skilled Trades Gap
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RED WING, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Red Wing Shoes, a global leader in the footwear industry, today unveiled its “Builders Exchange Program,” an industry-first initiative that brings virtual and real world builders together to build for a better future. For every five skilled trades workers leaving the trades, only one is joining. Millions of young people are building, yet they’re building in the virtual world, not the real world. In collaboration with the creative community on Roblox, a global online platform connecting millions of people through shared experiences, Red Wing’s “Builders Exchange Program” aims to help close the skilled trades gap, celebrates the work of today’s tradespeople and inspires work of the future.
Beginning November 15, Roblox community members can visit the Red Wing BuilderTown experience to help drive positive change in the real world by creating homes for people in need, celebrating and learning about the importance of the skilled trades. Users will build virtual homes through collecting materials and consulting with the BuilderTown tradespeople, Red Wing’s General Contractor, Electrician, Roofer and Carpenter, to meet the building requirements. For every tiny home built within the virtual experience on Roblox, a donation from Red Wing will be given to Settled., an organization that houses the homeless via tiny homes. As more user generated virtual homes are built in the metaverse, more will be built in the real world. Participants are also able to visit the virtual store to purchase limited-edition Red Wing merchandise.
“More and more people are building today; the catch is that they’re building in the metaverse and not in the real world. The skilled trades are being overlooked and losing workforce as the youth focus on virtual reality vs. building in real life,” said Dave Schneider, Chief Marketing Officer at Red Wing Shoe Company. “We’re excited to bridge this gap with our new ‘Builders Exchange Program’ that encourages these talented virtual developers to learn from skilled tradespeople and continue to build for a better future.”
To illustrate and launch the first-of-its-kind initiative, Red Wing brought together a prominent Roblox community developer Naomi Clemens (a.k.a. @CoffeeNerd) and General Contractor Kemi Ndolo to transform a virtual world design and build it in the real world.
“Working with Kemi has been amazing – we are both builders and creators, so getting to brainstorm designs with him and see the project come to life has been fascinating,” said Naomi Clemens. “I’ve been building in virtual spaces for half a decade but building a structure in the physical world that I can reach out and touch, wielding a hammer has made me feel very powerful. And knowing that this home will make a major difference in somebody’s life is incredibly inspiring.”
Red Wing partnered closely with BuildStrong Academy, an organization focused on closing the skilled trades gap, to make the real-world build come to life. The collaborative process can be seen in a short film here: https://youtu.be/unIxMZMWKgM.
For more information, please visit https://www.redwingshoes.com/BEP and follow @RedWingShoes for the latest updates.
About Red Wing Shoe Company
Red Wing Shoe Company Inc. is a global leader in the design, production and distribution of work, safety and lifestyle footwear and work apparel. Established in 1905 in Red Wing, Minnesota, the privately held company’s family of brands includes the premium choice for purpose-built work footwear, workwear and accessories. Its brands are distributed to more than 110 countries in an immersive multichannel environment of 500+ Red Wing retail stores, third-party partners and owned e-commerce platforms. Red Wing Shoe Company employs more than 2,000 employees worldwide and operates two U.S. manufacturing facilities in Red Wing, Minnesota and Potosi, Missouri. For more information, please visit redwingshoes.com or follow @RedWingShoes.
Alison Brod Marketing + Communications