Reps. Smucker, Mitchell, and Ryan Push for Transportation Workforce Development
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16), Paul Mitchell (MI-10), and Tim Ryan (OH-13) are making a bipartisan push to enhance transportation and infrastructure workforce development. Yesterday, the congressmen introduced the Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills (BUILDS) Act to help prepare the American workforce to modernize and expand the nation’s aging infrastructure systems.
The American Society of Civil Engineers recently graded the U.S. infrastructure system a D+ based on its capacity, condition, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation. A proposed $1 trillion infrastructure investment would create an estimated 11 million new American jobs. Even without a significant investment, though, infrastructure industries are already struggling to meet workforce demands.
The BUILDS Act promotes industry or sector partnerships made up of local businesses and industry organizations, workforce boards, and education and training providers to support workforce training programs in infrastructure-related jobs.
“One of my priorities this Congress has been to expand opportunities for work-based learning, and this legislation builds on that effort,” said Rep. Lloyd Smucker. “As Congress and the administration develop a plan to improve our nation’s aging infrastructure, this apprenticeship grant program will help create the pipeline of workers needed to rebuild America’s roads, highways, and bridges. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Reps. Paul Mitchell and Tim Ryan, and I am thankful for their work to help provide family-sustaining jobs and support our growing economy.”
“The American workforce must be ready to meet our nation’s expanding infrastructure needs,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell. “During President Trump’s State of the Union Address, he stressed an overhaul of our nation’s aging infrastructure as a national priority, as well as the need to prepare Americans to fill the millions of jobs that will be created by a major rebuilding of our infrastructure. The BUILDS Act helps achieve this goal through partnerships that encourage industry growth, and improve worker training, placement, and retention. With a background in workforce development, I’ve seen how these programs can change someone’s life. It’s time to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, close the skills gap, and get Americans back to work.”
“Our nation’s infrastructure, once the envy of the world, has been in a state of decline for decades. The unacceptable condition of our country’s airports, bridges, and roads is unsustainable, but presents us with an opportunity to get Americans back to work. The BUILDS Act encourages meaningful partnerships between state and local government and private enterprise to create job training programs to ensure we can fill the jobs necessary to expand and modernize the country’s infrastructure systems. I am proud to support this bill and will continue to strive for significant, lasting investment in our infrastructure, and the hardworking men and women of the U.S. workforce who make it all run,” said Rep. Tim Ryan.
The BUILDS Act will:
- Provide grants to industry or sector partnerships that encourage industry growth and competitiveness and collaborate to improve worker training, retention, and advancement in targeted infrastructure and transportation industry clusters
- Connect businesses and education providers to develop classroom curriculum to complement on-the-job learning
- Train managers and front-line workers to serve as mentors to people in the work-based learning programs
- Offer resources and career awareness programming to recruit and retain individuals for workforce training programs
- Provide support services to ensure workers are successful from pre-employment to placement in a full-time position
Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Rob Portman and Tim Kaine.