The Nexstar Legacy Foundation unveiled its Troops to Trades: Military Veterans’ Professional Training Program April 4 during its annual Owners’ Spotlight Series meeting in New Orleans. More than 225 plumbing, HVAC and electrical service contractors attended the meeting.

The foundation’s goal is to provide 35 scholarships to qualified military veterans interested in entering, or currently working in, the plumbing, HVAC or electrical service industry as technicians. They can apply through Nov. 1 at

While many service contractors are facing a shortage of qualified technicians, the federal government has announced that 34,000 troops are expected to return home this year. The importance of attracting veterans to become trained technicians is underscored by the increasing average age of technicians currently working in the field, said Renee Cardarelle, the foundation’s executive director. To further the program’s goals, foundation members met Feb. 25 with the American Legion Economic Commission to discuss how they could work together to promote job assistance to military veterans.