The U.S. House of Representatives March 15 voted 215-202 to pass the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act (H.R. 803), which will strengthen the workforce development system and increase employment opportunities by creating a more streamlined approach that focuses on businesses’ hiring and training needs.
Before the vote, ABC sent a letter
to all members of the House supporting this bill. ABC pointed out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the number of wage and salary jobs in the construction industry is expected to grow 19 percent through 2018, while all industries combined are expected to grow 11 percent.
“ABC believes one of the keys to attracting new workers and retaining current craft professionals is flexible training programs,” ABC wrote.
Specifically, H.R. 803 will enable small businesses, which create more than 65 percent of all new jobs, to continue developing training programs and career opportunities. By serving their communities through local workforce investment boards, business leaders can become more involved in career development programs and serve as an authority on training, skills and job opportunities in their communities.
H.R. 803 also will eliminate statutory language included in the Workforce Investment Act that only grants green jobs training grants firms associated with a labor union. Currently, contractors with employees who choose not to be associated with union training providers are effectively barred from accessing federal green jobs training dollars funded by their own taxes – and those employees comprise 87 percent of the construction industry.
“H.R. 803 addresses much-needed reform to our country’s workforce training system by providing a framework that will consolidate programs and increase the role of business,” ABC wrote.