Telling Our Workforce Development Story…
PHCC National, Educational Foundation Tell
Congress “It’s Go Time”
Dec. 8, 2015
By Mark Riso, PHCC Director of Government Relations
An issue needs to be understood – a crisis needs to be addressed. As part of PHCC’s ongoing campaign on workforce development, a series of meetings on Capitol Hill were held last week to continue to:
- educate Members of Congress and staff on the issue;
- emphasize the crisis of worker shortage;
- provide Congressional offices with specific information and materials regarding the great career opportunities in the p-h-c industry and, perhaps more importantly,
- challenge Congress to work with PHCC to take the next needed steps to resolve the worker shortage crisis.
(l-r) Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA), Co-Chair
The meetings were designed to discuss and work on a “game-plan” for PHCC to create real actions and programs to address the worker shortage in the industry. The PHCC delegation provided literature about PHCC, including several new workforce development fact sheets promoting the advantages of plumbing and HVAC careers.
PHCC Executive Vice President Michael Copp, PHCC Educational Foundation Chief Operating Officer Cindy Sheridan, and I met with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chair of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Development and Training; Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), owner of a plumbing company and a PHCC member; Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), co-chair of the House Career and Technical Education Caucus; and Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), former owner of an air conditioning and refrigeration contractor company.
The representatives and lawmakers discussed several ideas on how they can work together to help solve this critical worker shortage, which not only affects p-h-c businesses, but impacts economic growth, as well. Here are some examples of topics discussed:
- Roundtable discussions can be scheduled on Capitol Hill during which PHCC members can share how they have successfully recruited employees in their local communities.
- Members of Congress can be invited to tour PHCC members’ businesses.
- PHCC can review relevant legislation and provide Congress with feedback on ways to improve it.
- New apprentice training options can be explored to make this career path more viable for some students, including:
- A review of the length of time it takes for a student to complete the apprenticeship education process, based on federal standards.
- An investigation of allowing high school students a half-day work program option in order to shorten the time it takes to complete the PHCC Educational Foundation apprenticeship program.
- PHCC can help recruit more Members of Congress to serve on the Career and Technical Education Caucus.
PHCC will be following up with the legislators to keep this momentum going. Look for more details soon.