Top Issues: Workforce
BACKGROUND: The HVACR industry has a considerable shortage of skilled workers, and the problem is accelerating due to constraints within the training pipeline and record low unemployment rates. Skilled labor is vital to promulgate proper installation and maintenance of cutting-edge energy efficient equipment and to allow businesses to expand their operations/offerings.
In 2018, President Trump signed the Perkins Reauthorization, an ACCA priority, which provided nearly $2,000,000,000 for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Funding and created more state and local control over CTE programs. Federal funding for CTE through Perkins helps to build the capacity of secondary and postsecondary institutions to prepare students for college and career success, and is essential to moving our economy forward. President Trump also created the Apprenticeship Taskforce which promoted the importance of apprenticeship program and an increased focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.
Despite these successes, more work needs to be done to fill the tens of thousands of jobs available in the HVACR industry.
SOLUTION: ACCA supports additional funding for CTE programs with a focus on in-demand careers.
SOLUTION: ACCA supports the Veterans Administration making it easier for contractors to work through their state agencies to create GI Bill-approved apprenticeship programs.
SOLUTION: ACCA supports immigration reform that allows highly skilled workers to enter the United States. Skilled workers should have access to E3 Visa (currently only available to Australians). E-3 visa applicants may be admitted for up to a two-year period, which is renewable indefinitely, provided the applicant is able to demonstrate that he/she does not intend to remain or work permanently in the United States.
SOLUTION: ACCA will educate policymakers on the importance of Career and Technical Education as well as the challenges and opportunities facing America’s workforce in respect to the growing labor shortage in the skilled trades.