WASHINGTON, July 26—On behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors, Mike Holland, chief operating officer, MAREK Companies, testified today before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about the need to modernize and expand apprenticeship opportunities in the United States. 

In his testimony, Holland outlined the construction industry’s workforce development model and stressed the need to revise the U.S. Department of Labor’s definition of apprenticeships to include industry-recognized programs.

“With an estimated 500,000 open positions in the construction industry, it is essential we recruit, educate and up-skill the next generation of construction workers,” Holland said. “By expanding both DOL-registered and industry-recognized apprenticeship programs, we can better meet the evolving needs of our workforce and marketplace, while remaining steadfast in our commitment to safety, education and efficiency.”

Holland, who got his start in the construction industry as a drywall apprentice, credits his successful career to the industry’s dedication to teaching new skills and professional advancement.

“My motivation and commitment to workforce development stems from my own path,” Holland said. “By expanding apprenticeship opportunities, we’re also expanding opportunities for all Americans to build successful and rewarding careers in the construction sector.”   

Holland noted that industry-recognized programs include both on-the-job training and a classroom component, which meets the definition of an apprenticeship as outlined by a recent DOL task force. The industry model also allows apprentices to earn nationally recognized, portable credentials through NCCER, which produces standardized construction and maintenance curricula.

Workforce development programs are a key priority for ABC members. ABC chapters have set up more than 800 apprenticeship, craft training and safety programs across the United States and invest $1.1 billion on workforce development to educate more than 475,000 industry employees annually. 

ABC recently committed to educating and up-skilling at least 500,000 constructions workers over the next five years as part of President Trump’s “Pledge to America’s Workers.” The pledge, which was signed by more than a dozen leading companies and industry trade associations, stressed the need to expand apprenticeship programs to enhance career opportunities and economic security for current and future generations of America’s workforce.

Read Holland's full testimony here