Sherwin-Williams tackles labor shortage with Paint Your Path

by Brian Sodoma

It’s a well-documented problem. So much painting work, not enough labor. Now, Sherwin-Williams has inserted itself into the dialogue between painting contractors and future painting professionals in hopes of both supporting contractors in their search and exposing all types of job seekers to a new, satisfying career as painting professionals.

The coatings manufacturer recently launched two websites under a program titled: ‘Paint Your Path.’ The two sites, and, work together to first pitch the painting trade as a worthwhile profession, then offer training basics for those getting into the field.

“Sherwin-Williams is in a really unique position—we have more relationships with contractors and painters than any other supplier. So, we looked around and didn’t see anyone talking about why someone should join the paint industry,” said Jeff Winter, Sherwin-Williams’ VP of residential marketing.

“We have too few young people considering making a career out of painting and, frankly, there are a lot of good reasons they should: they can make good money, it’s in demand, there’s a lot of variety in the places they are working, and there is a real sense of accomplishment once a job is done. We felt that we should take the lead in starting to tell that story, which is what the Paint Your Path program is all about.”

The program’s website answers questions about why the profession is attractive and includes testimonials from real contractors who learned the trade quickly, some of them then headed down an entrepreneurial path by launching their own companies. serves as a jumping off point for training future painting professionals, offering video courses that cover topics like prep, color-selection basics, repairs and touch-ups, equipment basics, and a host of other information—in both English and Spanish. Upon completion and the successful passing of quizzes, a certificate is issued.

“As we talked to contractors, we heard over and over that they were hiring for attitude and training for the skills that are needed to be an effective painter,” Winter added. “While it (the website) can’t take the place of on-the-job training, these [website training modules] will give new painters a running start on becoming a productive member of the team.”

The site is intended to be a tool painting contractors can use to help train their new hires.

“As we were developing Paint Pro Training, we talked to many contractors about what they could use and how they would use it. If a contractor is starting someone with very little experience, we envision that person’s very first day would be spent on a computer or tablet, completing the nine online classes. They would not pick up a brush until they successfully completed them,” Winter said.

While the sites are not the antidote to the labor shortage, they help, on some level, to remove barriers to the field and help potentially qualified candidates currently working in other industries understand how accessible a professional painting career can be.

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