Knoxville Area Urban League earns inaugural Stanley Black & Decker Makers Grant

Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) has announced the recipients of its first “Empower Makers” Global Impact Challenge, and the Knoxville Area Urban League earned $27,000 for its efforts to empower East Tennesseans with opportunities to earn.

Initiated in 2021, the Global Impact Challenge grant program will award up to $25 million in grant funding over the next five years to nonprofits that are supporting trade workforce development initiatives in the construction and manufacturing sectors.

“This timely and impactful grant from Stanley Black & Decker will help us establish our new Level UP Skills Pre-Apprenticeship Program,” said Phyllis Y. Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League. “Through the initiative, residents will learn a trade in construction while earning money and working full-time – it’s a win-win for our neighbors and our community.”

With the first applications submitted in October 2021, 240 entrants were evaluated based on number of people served, outcomes projected, sustainable impact, depth of programs and diversity, among other considerations. The Knoxville Area Urban League was one of 86 organizations selected that will help skill and reskill about 180,000 makers throughout 2022.

The Level UP program is nationally standardized and accredited, and the credentials participants receive can be built upon and are recognized across the industry. Mentors will work with participants to develop a career plan, setting them up for success in a field that is expected to grow 6% from 2020 to 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Stanley Black & Decker is immensely proud to support Knoxville Area Urban League as they work to skill and reskill the next generation of trade professionals,” Stanley Black & Decker Vice President of Social Impact Diane Cantello said. “Currently in the U.S., there are an estimated 650,000 open construction jobs and 10 million unfilled manufacturing jobs globally. Our purpose is to support ‘Those Who Make the World,’ and being able to fund educational programs and nonprofits that are revitalizing trade careers directly connects to our core mission. Thanks to this year’s Makers Grant Recipients, together we will be one step closer to closing the trade skills gap.”

Visit to learn more about Stanley Black & Decker’s “Empower Makers” Global Impact Challenge, this year’s recipients and how nonprofits may submit for the upcoming application period.

About the Knoxville Area Urban League
Since 1968, the Knoxville Area Urban League has assisted disadvantaged people attain social and economic stability and self-sufficiency through direct services and advocacy. The League works to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase homeownership; to support economic and small business development, and to enhance education efforts for our youth. The Knoxville Area Urban League is a United Way partner agency and affiliate of the National Urban League. The League’s work and results are evident in the lives of the over 11,000 people it impacts each year. For more information, call 865-524-5511 or visit

About Stanley Black & Decker
Headquartered in the USA, Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) is the world’s largest tool company operating nearly 50 manufacturing facilities across America and more than 100 worldwide. Guided by its purpose – for those who make the world – the company’s more than 60,000 diverse and high-performing employees produce innovative, award-winning power tools, hand tools, storage, digital tool solutions, lifestyle products, outdoor products, engineered fasteners and other industrial equipment to support the world’s makers, creators, tradespeople and builders. The company’s iconic brands include DEWALT, BLACK+DECKER, CRAFTSMAN, STANLEY, Cub Cadet, Hustler and Troy-Bilt. Recognized for its leadership in environmental, social and governance (ESG), Stanley Black & Decker strives to be a force for good in support of its communities, employees, customers and other stakeholders. To learn more visit: