American Standard and GROHE supported the Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. By providing the latest plumbing innovations, LIXIL aims to help students receive the proper training necessary to pursue a plumbing career in today’s modern world.

The support is part of a larger effort of parent company LIXIL Americas to steer the conversation towards the importance of plumbers, and how their contributions ensure that communities have safe drinking water, a clean shower and proper sanitation.

“World Plumbing Day is a critical reminder of the vital work that plumbers perform to protect the health of the nation. Currently, millions of stable, highly-lucrative trade jobs remain unfilled, and the health of our communities is at risk,” said Steven Delarge, chief executive officer, LIXIL Americas. “This gap will continue to grow, and therefore, LIXIL is committed to building the ‘next generation’ of trained plumbers by providing the most innovative products on the market to SCVTS and other vocational schools.”

The SCVTS program in Bridgewater Township provides students with instruction in all aspects of residential and commercial plumbing. As part of its training, students receive manufacturer literature and specification sheets to better understand behind-the-wall plumbing and drain sizing. Because modern plumbing systems are more complex, much of their learning is devoted to training on the most innovative products including American Standard faucets and toilets. Third- and fourth-year students spend part of their days working in the field with local plumbing contractors.

“Partnering with LIXIL has given our students the opportunity to participate in such a robust training program using products that are at the forefront of technology—they are thrilled because they feel more prepared for a full-time plumbing career,” Robert Setlock, plumbing instructor, SCVTS. “Also, the feedback from our contractor partners has been overwhelmingly positive— they are impressed with our students’ ‘ready-to-work’ attitude and the knowledge they bring when they arrive in the field.”

In New Jersey, plumbing candidates can jumpstart their careers by fast-tracking current four-year apprenticeship programs, enabling them to reach "Journeyman" status once they complete four years of vocational high school training. After one year of "Journeyman" status, they can apply for a Master Plumber license, which yields the highest earning potential, averaging $115,000 in New Jersey. For Master Plumbers who choose to start their own business, earning potential is much higher.

Over the past year, LIXIL supported seven vocational and technical schools in New Jersey, including Payne Tech in Newark and West Caldwell Tech in West Caldwell. Also, LIXIL often hosts groups of local STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) students at its Research and Design Center in Piscataway, where they receive a full day of mentorship.