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ABC Delaware President Ed Capodanno was recognized by the Delaware state legislature at the chapter’s Hobnobbing Legislative Day in Dover on May 18. Delaware State Senate Minority Leader Gerald Hocker presented Capodanno with a tribute thanking him for his “long and illustrious leadership at both Associated Builders and Contractors, Delaware Chapter, and a wide range of community service work in the First State,” signed by every state lawmaker, Republican and Democrat.

Capodanno was honored before dozens of ABC members who attended the event and ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman.

Capodanno is a native Delawarean who joined ABC Delaware in 1993 and has served in the construction community for 30 years. Since taking the reins, he has secured the financial footing of the chapter and overseen its growth from 200 members to nearly 500 today. ABC Delaware is consistently one of the top chapters in the country, with membership retention of about 90% annually. He has also served on several councils under various governors to help the Delaware construction industry maintain a strong and vibrant workforce.

In addition to his contributions and support of the construction industry in Delaware, Capodanno is an active member of his community. He’s had an illustrious basketball coaching career, and in 1987 became the youngest coach in Delaware history to win a state championship, his first of three consecutive titles with the Ursuline Academy girls’ team. That accomplishment has never been repeated.

Capodanno is also a northern Delaware regional director for Special Olympics Delaware. He was inducted into the Delaware Special Olympics Hall of Fame in 2011 for his service as Program Director and Head Coach at Brandywine Social Club from 1990-2012. At Brandywine, Capodanno was Coach of the Year in 1996 and led multiple teams at the World Games.

In addition, he’s served on the Brandywine School District Renovation Oversight Committee, chaired the Brandywine School District Scope and Assessment Committee and was a member of the Brandywine School District Capital Referendum Task Force in 1999 and 2004. He also served on the board of the Delaware Military Academy and was chair of the board in 2018 and 2019.

Ed Capodanno truly embodies what it means to be an integral part of your community, supporting businesses and individuals from all walks of life to make Delaware a wonderful state in which to live. Congratulations, Ed!

 

ABC and dozens of employer organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Senate on May 8 expressing their opposition on Julie Su’s stalled nomination for secretary of labor. The groups cited her troubling record and failure to adequately explain how she would run the DOL in a manner that engages employers and employees alike to best achieve our shared economic goals.

“Ms. Su’s track record as California’s Secretary of Labor raises legitimate questions about her ability to lead the U.S. Department of Labor, particularly at a time when our country faces supply chain challenges, inflation, and workforce shortages,” the 35 organizations wrote. “Moreover, current labor negotiations at the West Coast Ports and upcoming negotiations elsewhere could, without adequate leadership, effectively shut down our nation’s economy.

“At the recent Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Ms. Su failed to adequately address questions about her record and her plans to address our nation’s challenges in a manner that advances our collective goals of reducing inflation, ensuring stable supply chains, and supporting economic opportunities for employers and employees alike. Confirming a labor secretary with a track record of putting roadblocks in the way of solving the current workforce shortage would negatively affect every American, every business (particularly small businesses), and the economy,” the coalition wrote.

Republicans in the Senate are united in opposition to Su’s nomination and moderate Democrats remain hesitant to support her, but the White House is doing a full-court press to get her across the finish line.

ABC’s Free Enterprise Alliance is hosting a tailgate party at the Bullpen (1201 Half St. SE, Washington, D.C.) and will flow directly into the Congressional Baseball Game.

This event is open to all Legislative Conference attendees and sponsorships are strongly encouraged. All sponsors will receive tickets to the Congressional Baseball Game and will have their logo displayed on signage around the event.

More information will be provided upon contribution: Click here to donate.

Do not miss this opportunity to visit with your federal legislators on the Hill during the day and network with fellow ABC members at the FEA Tailgate Party in the evening. Don’t miss this homerun event! Register now.

We believe the metaverse can transform learning and how people train for jobs, which is why we hosted the Future of Work Summit this week in Washington, D.C. Academics, policymakers, entrepreneurs and experts gathered to hear how immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality (AR and VR) benefit businesses and workers.

“The metaverse promises to make learning more active,” said Nick Clegg, Meta’s President, Global Affairs. “With virtual and augmented reality technologies, people can learn by doing, not just passively absorbing information. This has the potential to transform the way we provide new skills and new lifelong learning tools for people in the future.”

Here are five examples of how these technologies are shaping the future of work today:

Reducing Risk in Dangerous Work

Electricians often work on dangerous power lines and complex machinery, requiring experience and expertise. With VR training modules in platforms such as Interplay, an electrical apprentice can practice using virtual live wires hundreds of times without risking physical injury. And as they practice, trainers can provide guidance and assess their performance. 

According to a recent whitepaper by ITIF, immersive technologies can be especially impactful in training programs that require a mix of theoretical and practical experience, and implementing AR- and VR-based instruction could make the programs more cost-effective, flexible and safe while extending their coverage.

Matthew Abeles from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a US trade association, agreed. He said five chapters of ABC — Illinois, Ohio Valley, Southeastern Michigan, Iowa and New Jersey — implemented virtual reality in their apprenticeship programs and anticipates more widespread adoption because of its benefits.

Increasing Caregiver Empathy and Retention

Carrie Shaw, CEO of Embodied Labs, developed an immersive training platform to bridge a gap between caregivers and the people they serve. Her platform enables caregivers to simulate cognitive, auditory or vision loss with the help of virtual reality. Driven by her own experience as a caregiver for her mother with early onset Alzheimer’s, Shaw saw an opportunity to increase empathy and educate caregivers about regular challenges on the job to improve retention. 

“Often people don’t know what they’re getting themselves into when taking on the role of a caregiver,” said Shaw. “This leads to frustration and can result in high turnover, which can be especially problematic as our population ages and more caregivers are in demand.”

To help healthcare professionals deliver positive patient experiences, Talespin offers soft skills training like effective communication and emotional intelligence. According to the VR learning platformtraining in VR is four-and-a-half times more effective than e-learning or classroom learning, and can lead to a 275% increase in confidence on the job after training.

Adding Longevity to Careers

Workers in physically demanding trades like welding or sheet metal work often reach limits as they age. Working with their hands and getting to hard-to-reach job sites can become difficult. But the most expert workers are getting a new opportunity to continue their careers as trainers in VR.

“We’ve seen longtime workers extend their careers using VR platforms such as Interplay to learn new skills and change to less physical jobs within our industry,” said Michael Harris, administrator, International Training Institute, and a second-generation sheet metal worker. “They benefit from maintaining an income while learning new skills, and younger generations are more engaged in the training and motivated to improve by getting a higher score in training modules just like a game.”

Opening New Pathways for Jobs

According to a new report by Jobs for the Future, careers in extended reality (XR) are more accessible to people who don’t have college degrees or are searching for new jobs. In the same report, JFF found that 40% of the more than 40,000 job postings mentioning XR or similar technology required only a high school education or associate degree to be considered, or had no education requirements at all. 

“These findings suggest that people who have been excluded or underrepresented in the technology sector because of education attainment barriers will soon be able to access, enter and advance through immersive technologies more easily,” said Alex Swartsel, managing director of Jobs for the Future. “For example, a learner can begin in an entry-level role such as XR technical support specialist and then up-skill to specialize for roles such as virtual-world design, sales, or consulting on immersive solutions for business needs.”

Immersive technology training presents promise to strengthen the competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses. In the US alone, the metaverse could contribute between $402 billion and $760 billion by 2035, according to a report commissioned by Meta and produced by Deloitte. 

“The metaverse is making its way into our economy and culture, and preparing for it now will help make a small business more competitive both in the short and long term,” said Karen Kerrigan, founder of the Metaverse Business Alliance.

Providing Alternatives to Physical Prototypes

As a multimedia artist, animator and former construction worker, Quittman Farmer helps developers create digital twins of residential and commercial real estate projects through his company, QUED Animations. Physical prototypes for large-scale projects can be costly to design and produce, which is limiting for small- and medium-sized businesses, especially in the early stages of development. But with designs in AR and VR, prototypes can be easily and quickly manipulated to new specifications, and multiple designers can collaborate to design a prototype in real-time from anywhere.

Republished with permission from Meta.

Five Ways the Metaverse Is Shaping The Future of Work | Meta (fb.com)

 

On May 18, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published a Field Assistance Bulletin on Enforcement of Protections for Employees to Pump Breast Milk at Work, which is intended to provide enforcement support and guidance to field staff regarding the application and requirements of the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act, or PUMP Act.

On Dec. 29, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, into law, which includes the PUMP Act. According to the DOL website, under the PUMP Act, most nursing employees have the right to reasonable break time and a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view to express breast milk while at work. This right is available for up to one year after the child’s birth.

In April 2023, the DOL issued an updated Fair Labor Standards Act poster that reflects current pump at work requirements. This poster may be used to meet the FLSA posting requirement and is available for download at no cost. Employers should ensure that they are posting the current version of the poster.

Additional resources:

 

 

 

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently published a study evaluating the effects of state prevailing wage policy on road construction and maintenance costs. Prevailing wage requirements undermine nonunion contractors’ competitiveness for public works contracts by standardizing the payment of union wage rates via methodologically defective surveys.

Authored by Michael J. Hicks, the George and Francis Ball Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ball State University, the May 2023 study associates state prevailing wage laws with significant road construction and maintenance cost increases and no significant effect on the labor share of those costs. The findings on road spending  add to the extensive literature detailing prevailing wage cost increases, primarily on school construction.

Using public data on state road construction spending in 48 states from 2004 to 2019, Hicks developed a model that demonstrates an 8.9% to 14.3% cost increase on projects where prevailing wage applied. Secondary research on road building in six states that have repealed prevailing wage laws since 2014 showed an average cost reduction of 5.6%. Because the secondary prevailing wage repeal model necessarily employed a smaller sample of states, its results do not constitute a  comprehensive cost estimate given significant annual variation in road spending.

The Mackinac Center study confirms overwhelming evidence from academic and government investigators of the wasteful and exclusionary impacts of prevailing wage requirements. A 1999 Mackinac study found a federal court’s suspension of Michigan’s prevailing wage law created at least 11,000 additional construction jobs and $275 million in taxpayer savings between 1994 and 1997 alone.

A 2017 Mackinac study found restoration of Michigan’s prevailing wage requirements would transfer about $230 million annually from Michigan taxpayers to unionized workers, and confirmed existing findings from diverse investigators that prevailing wage requirements increase public construction costs by up to 15%.

ABC will continue to vigorously oppose federal, state and local legislative and regulatory prevailing wage expansion, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s March 24 signature of H.B. 4007, which codifies prevailing wage for state contracting in contravention of a 2018 public referendum.

On May 12, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service released additional guidance on the Inflation Reduction Act’s domestic content bonus tax credits, which are in effect for all taxable years ending after May 12, 2023. The guidance may be relied upon by taxpayers for all construction that begins prior to the effective date of forthcoming proposed regulations.

The ABC-opposed Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law on Aug. 16, 2022, and provides over $270 billion in tax credits for the construction of solar, wind, hydrogen, carbon sequestration, electric vehicle charging stations and other clean energy projects. Specifically, Subtitle D-Energy Security of the IRA grants developers/taxpayers a bonus tax credit five times greater than a baseline tax credit of 6% conditioned on requirements that project contractors meet prevailing wage and government-registered apprenticeship program utilization requirements outlined in the legislation and IRS guidance.

The May 12 guidance states that taxpayers may receive another 10% tax credit increase for meeting domestic content requirements. All steel and iron on a project must be 100% produced in the United States to meet this requirement. Additionally, between 40% to 55%, depending on project type and the year construction begins, of the total cost of other components and subcomponents used on the project must be attributable to components that are mined, produced or manufactured in the United States in order to receive this bonus. The IRS previously requested comments on these requirements, and ABC provided feedback regarding industry concerns about supply chain issues and cost increases that may be caused by these domestic content requirements in comments to Treasury and the IRS.

For more information and resources on compliance with the IRA’s requirements, please visit ABC’s new website, abc.org/ira.

If you have questions that are not answered on the website or in Treasury/IRS guidance, ABC is here to help. Please email [email protected] and ABC subject matter experts will work to answer your question or reach out to Treasury/IRA for clarification.

On May 10, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship voted to approve recommendations to the DOL for potential revisions to the National Apprenticeship System. The ACA is an advisory body comprised of representatives from industries, labor organizations and other members of the public that provides advice to the agency on government-registered apprenticeship programs. These recommendations will inform the DOL’s upcoming proposed rule revising the GRAP system, currently targeted for June 2023.

Included in the recommendations are suggestions for the DOL to establish a new “Quality Seal” program for GRAPs. Programs would be required to meet certain wage requirements, completion rates and apprentice-to-journeyworker ratios in order to receive the Quality Seal and accompanying preferential treatment for federal funding of GRAPs. Employer participants in Quality Seal GRAPs would receive preferential treatment in the bidding and awarding of federal and federally assisted construction projects. Additionally, some members of the ACA recommended that all GRAPs should be required to guarantee graduates such wages deemed “family-sustaining” by the DOL.

An ABC-led coalition of construction and business associations submitted a letter to the ACA expressing concerns that these proposals, while perhaps well-intentioned, may ultimately result in fewer apprentices being upskilled by making GRAPs less attractive to employers and employee participants. Specifically, the letter urged the committee to reject recommendations that would discourage providers and employers from utilizing GRAPs and instead ensure flexibility and ease of access.

The ACA’s recommendations were ultimately approved, although there was disagreement among ACA members. Bloomberg News reported that:

“Members of the advisory panel disagreed on whether to attach the “living wage” provisions to the final recommendations, with some representatives expressing concern that they wouldn’t get enough buy-in from employers.

“Initially the panel suggested using ‘MIT’s living wage calculator’ as the standard rate apprenticeship programs should pay in order to receive the special quality seal.

“Ultimately, the committee voted to define ‘living wage’ as ‘200% of the federal poverty level for a family of three, adjusted by a geographic cost-of-living differential for regions where the cost of living exceeds the federal average.’”

Stakeholders who want to provide more input on the ACA’s Quality Seal Program and living wage recommendations should consider participating in the public comment period that will accompany the DOL’s anticipated apprenticeship rulemaking, should those ACA recommendations be adopted in the proposed rule.

ABC continues to support GRAPs as one of many solutions that are part of ABC’s all-of-the-above solution to workforce development. However, recent data suggests that it would take 12 years for GRAPs to educate the more than half a million workers needed by the construction industry in 2023 alone. ABC will continue to champion inclusive workforce development policies that will avoid costly delays to critical infrastructure, clean energy and manufacturing projects.

The ABC-opposed National Apprenticeship Act introduced in Congress on April 25 would further entrench the rigid GRAP system, failing to address critical workforce needs of our nation’s construction industry and substantially restricting apprenticeship opportunities currently serving thousands of contractors. ABC instead supports the Training America’s Workforce Act (S. 1213), the Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act (H.R. 1477/S. 722) and the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students Act (H.R. 793/S. 161).

On May 9, 2023, President Joe Biden signed an executive order, Moving Beyond COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for Federal Workers, that revoked executive orders 14042 and 14043 effective 12:01 a.m. ET on May 12, 2023. The Safer Federal Workforce has made the following updates on its website with related guidance for contractors as of May 12, 2023:

  • Effective May 12, 2023, all prior guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force implementing the requirements of Executive Orders 14042 and 14043. The FAR Council’s Sept. 30, 2021, guidance regarding deviations to the FAR to implement Executive Order 14042, has also been revoked.
  • Updates have been made to FAQs on contractorsleave and vaccination.
  • Updates have been made to the overview for federal contractors.

Background:

On May 1, 2023, President Joe Biden’s administration announced its intent to end certain COVID-19 vaccination requirements, including the mandate on federal contractors.

The Biden administration had already stopped enforcing these requirements due to a successful legal challenge led by ABC and seven states. On Aug. 26, 2022 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued a decision narrowing the December 2021 nationwide preliminary injunction granted by the Georgia District Court to only ABC members who bid on federal contracts and the state plaintiffs in the case. However, the Biden administration later announced it would continue its pause on enforcement nationwide.

The 2021 injunction was a direct result of ABC intervening as the lone business group challenging the federal contractor vaccine mandate, along with the seven plaintiff state governments.

 

 

Chuck Goodrich, president and CEO of Gaylor Electric and state representative for Indiana House District 29, announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District. Goodrich served as the 2017 national chair of the ABC Board of Directors.

“There is a need for people in D.C. who understand what it takes to run and build a business, who have met the pressures of meeting weekly payrolls, dealt with rising health care costs, lived with workforce development challenges, like immigration and inflation, and have first-hand experience on the cumbersome impact of regulations and taxes. I understand these challenges, and I want to bring my perspective, a conservative perspective, to the conversation,” said Goodrich.

Based in Indianapolis, Gaylor Electric, an ABC Top Performer, is one of the largest merit-shop electrical firms in the country with 11 offices across the country. Goodrich began his career with Gaylor Electric in 1991 as an intern and subsequently moved up the ranks to a variety of key leadership positions within the company, ultimately being named president in November 2014. During his tenure, Gaylor Electric has created more than 1,000 jobs and won numerous national awards. As an Indiana state representative, Goodrich was first elected to serve the constituents of House District 29 in 2018.

The 5th District is currently represented by Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz, who announced her decision to not seek reelection in February. The primary election for the district will be held on May 7, 2024, and two other candidates have also announced for bid for the Republican nomination, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings and Mathew Peiffer. The seat is ranked as “solid Republican” by most prominent election trackers.

To learn more about Chuck Goodrich’s race please visit his website: www.gowithchuckgoodrich.com.

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