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HomeWork Painter Training Program Provides Opportunity, Enriches Lives

The Sherwin-Williams HomeWork painter training program had a successful year in 2022. This program offers individuals, including low-income housing residents, former offenders and the homeless, the opportunity to learn the basic skills necessary for a career in professional painting. In total for the year, our instructors, most of whom are retirees of Sherwin-Williams, taught nearly 30 classes to more than 360 program participants. Of the students who received training through HomeWork last year, 65% – nearly 240 students – found jobs in an applicable field.


“A lot of these students join by word of mouth – we find that once people complete the class, they are a driving force in recruiting students for future classes,” said Carl Scruggs, Sherwin-Williams retiree and HomeWork instructor. Scruggs helped to launch the HomeWork program in 2004. He retired from Sherwin-Williams in 2015 after spending 41 years with the Company. “This is an investment in the community,” Scruggs said. “With the impact that it’s having, I think the program is only going to continue to grow.”


The course curriculum is built to give students a well-rounded experience that fosters success in the painting industry. For the one-week course, day one is focused on classroom time and Painting 101, with day two focusing on students earning a certificate under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) program. Days three and four are both hands-on instruction and practice, focused on prep work and painting. On day five, the final day of the program, a graduation ceremony is held for the students with loved ones invited to attend.


A primary driver for the students who sign up for HomeWork is the EPA RRP training that all participants must complete. Individuals must have RRP certification to perform painting work in pre-1978 homes and other buildings.


For Chris Brown, a student who graduated from HomeWork in 2022, enrolling in the program was just as much about gaining skills as it was about getting his certification. “I took advantage of a good opportunity,” Brown said. “For me, getting RRP-certified is a big part of the program. Painting is my passion and this program allows me to go further.”


Jeff Chester, Sherwin-Williams retiree and HomeWork instructor, is passionate about the painting industry and his teaching reflects this. “Your knowledge is really helping to speed up the progress of the rest of the class,” Chester said to Brown, whose prior experience in the painting industry made an impact on the rest of the class. “As the awareness grows, so does the need for contractors who are trained and know how to do the job right and safely. It’s amazing what Sherwin-Williams provides,” Chester concluded.


This story is featured in the Sherwin-Williams 2022 Sustainability Report.