As Congress continued last week to negotiate a spending plan, as well as immigration reform legislation, I had a break from the Capitol Hill action to focus on the Administration and Workforce.
Last Tuesday, February 6, I had the privilege to join Sectary of Labor Alexander Acosta (did you know Secretary Acosta is joining ACCA for our annual meeting, and is serving as our keynote Speaker on Monday) for a virtual meeting of the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. Secretary Acosta was joined by his Vice-Chair, Secretary Betsy DeVos, U.S. Department of Education and the 20 members of the Apprenticeship Task Force. Unfortunately, Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Vice-Chair of the Task Force was not able to join the meeting. This was the second meeting of the Task Force, since it was established through President Trump’s Executive Order
This meeting was my first chance to have a formal look behind the curtain of the Task Force, and it quickly became apparent we have our work cut out for us/the construction trades to ensure the needs of the trades are not lost with the make-up of Task Force. We are grateful that our friends at the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) have their President & CEO, Michael Bellaman, serving on the Task Force to help ensure the 19 other members of Task Force, which are fairly far removed from the needs of contractors.
- Aligning K-12 and post-secondary performance measurements to determine work readiness
- Growing Career and Technical Education funding and support
- Leveraging technology and public-private partnerships
- Developing third party accrediting of programs to increase flexibility
- Develop a public national database to improve performance outcomes
- Realignment of apprentice ratios with indicators for worker safety and performance
- Modify wage and hour laws to allow young adults better access to on the job training
- Provide financial incentives to employers to participate in apprenticeship
- Increase outreach to all Americans to promote equal access
- Allowing industries to design flexible programs which may promote cross-industry skills training
As the Task Force moves forward to create their recommendations, ACCA is committed to ensuring all the members of the Task Force understand the immediate need we HVACR Industry has in finding and maintaining skilled labor, and has the political and financial backing of Congress to support the recommendations put forward to solve this crisis.