US Congress urged to bring back workforce act
25 July 2023
The US National Demolition Association (NDA) has urged the United States Congress to reinstate the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), in order to help demolition and construction sector employers recruit and retain skilled workers.
The NDA said: “The federal government provides workforce development activities through WIOA’s programs and other initiatives designed to increase the employment and earning potential of workers.
“However, the original authorization of WIOA expired in FY 2020 and has only been renewed on an annual basis through appropriations bills. Lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have expressed interest in reauthorizing WIOA but no action has been taken thus far.”
In a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the NDA cited the latest research of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Its data, which was published on July 6, 2023, reveals that there are currently 9.8 million job openings in the United States, of which nearly 366,000 are in the construction industry.
“This economic data acutely conveys the difficult challenges facing employers and the urgent need to pass a long-term reauthorization of WIOA and other legislation that will encourage a robust and skilled labor force,” said the NDA.
According to the organisation, which has been lobbying government on the issue of the industry’s labour and skills shortages for several years, since the “WIOA expired in FY 2020, employers have faced unprecedented workforce challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The association further called on Congress to prioritize Workforce Development Legislation that would improve and expand apprenticeship opportunities and vocational training, as well as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and technical education in both primary and secondary school settings.
This latest news comes just weeks after the NDA approached the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, urging them to support policies that will boost the demolition industry and small businesses in the fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations bill.
In particular, it asked the committees to support the “robust funding” of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Disaster Recovery program - which sees NDA members provide expert assistance in the wake of devastating man-made and natural disasters.