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BUILDS Act introduced in the House
Kirill Abbakumov   on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

On February 6, 2018, House Representatives Paul Mitchell (R-MI) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) introduced bipartisan legislation called the Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demand for Skills (BUILDS) Act (H.R. 4942). The legislation would support grants to industry partnerships in transportation, construction, energy, and other infrastructure industries. Department of Labor will work in consultation with the Departments of Transportation, Energy, and other federal agencies to administer the grants for local partnerships developing work-based learning programming for a diverse pipeline of skilled workers.

In 2017, the Trump administration released as set of infrastructure principles that included a goal of training a million new apprentices over 2 years. The President’s State of the Union address earlier this year included a call for infrastructure investments, however, without a clear emphasis on the link between the investment and developing a pipeline of workers.

BUILDS Act would set aside funding from a Congressional infrastructure package for workforce development. This funding would be used to train workers needed to help businesses in targeted industries grow and maintain the workforce necessary to keep up with demand, while also ensuring that a diverse range of workers could access the training and credentials needed to find sustainable, family-supporting job in these fields.

According to the National Skills Coalition, businesses in infrastructure are currently facing intense labor shortages because of impending retirements, lack of diversity in the workforce, and overall skill shortages in growth industries. Departments of Education and Labor report that there are 68% more projected job openings in infrastructure jobs over the next 5 years than there are students training for these jobs. Meanwhile, According to a member survey conducted by the Aeronautical Repair Station Association has released a member survey which indicates that its members are poised to lose out on close to $200 million in revenues this year due to unfulfilled technical jobs.

The Senate version of BUILDS was introduced by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) in the summer of 2017.