DES MOINES — A statewide trade group representing commercial, industrial and public works construction contractors says it has established a $5 million endowment that will fund programs to attract people to construction trade jobs.

Master Builders of Iowa has created a nonprofit board that will each year fund projects that introduce students and adults to the building trades and help attract them to training programs to be a carpenter, electrician, welder or plumber.

Chad Kleppe, the organization's CEO, says schools, charities and nonprofit organizations can submit proposals for projects that will be funded in the range of $5,000 to $75,000.

Projects could focus on exposing high school students to commercial construction jobs through hands-on opportunities or on adults who want a career change, including veterans returning to civilian life.

The organization announced the endowment fund Tuesday with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in collaboration with her Future Ready Iowa initiative. That program focuses on training workers for jobs that businesses say are hard to fill.

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