Contact: Kinsey Cooper (703) 812-2087
              cooper@abc.org 
                                                    For Immediate Release
Sept. 20, 2013 

Washington, D.C. – In testimony today before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Pelican Chapter President Alvin Bargas discussed the importance of career and technical education (CTE) programs to the construction industry. 

“Louisiana’s construction industry now faces a workforce challenge,” Bargas said. “Project announcements in excess of $60 billion in new construction, plus the expansion of existing facilities are driving the need for skilled workers. Retirements, career changes, etc., will drive demand for an additional 51,300 workers.

“Even with an exploding demand for a skilled construction workforce, public high schools continue to focus on the four-year college prep curriculum,” Bargas said. “While this pathway is important, students should be offered opportunities to learn skills that prepare them for high paying, in-demand careers that do not require a bachelor’s degree.”

Bargas noted that although CTE options are important, they must align with the industry workforce needs and post-secondary credentials and should never come at the expense of academic rigor. 

“Our challenge ahead is to focus our current resources to support CTE programs for in-demand industries that provide students with innovative and flexible training options that stretch from high school to advanced postsecondary credentials,” Bargas said. “This includes promoting new and existing partnerships between industries, government, and education providers while establishing clear accountability indicators and easily understood measures of success.”

In his testimony, Bargas also highlighted Louisiana’s Course Choice program, which allows high school students to customize their learning path by gaining industry-based certifications, in addition to earning high school and college credit. ABC Pelican Chapter is a Course Choice provider offering electrical, pipefitting and welding to 34 students.

More information is available in Bargas’ written testimony and on the subcommittee’s website. The title of the hearing is, "Preparing Today's Students for Tomorrow's Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs.” More information on ABC’s construction training efforts can be found at www.workforceunderconstruction.com


Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national trade association representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 72 chapters help members win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work. Visit us at www.abc.org.