ACCA Joins Congressman Roger Williams for a Workforce Event at Hill College
Earlier this month I had the privilege of joining Hill College President Dr. Pam Boehm, Hill College Dean of Community and Workforce Education and ACCA Secretary and Treasurer Stephen Pape, former ACCA Chairman Steve Lauten, Executive Director of the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association (TACCA) Devorah Jakubowsky, President of TACCA Nick Watkins, as well as a number of business owners, educators, students, and community leaders for a roundtable discussion with Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25) on workforce and the skilled trades. The event was hosted by Hill College at their technical center in Cleburne, Texas which houses their HVAC and welding programs. The discussion was wide ranging but focused mainly on the current challenges that employers across the country are facing when it comes to workforce. While filling job openings in the HVAC-R industry (and skilled trades more broadly) has long been a challenge, the pandemic has brought about new constraints, making an existing problem more difficult.
Those present generally agreed that while there is no single, easy answer to the complex workforce problem, there needs to be greater awareness of the opportunities that careers in the skilled trades provide. Specifically, that schools should be letting students know as early as junior high, and certainly by the time there in high school that there is an abundance of legitimate career pathways other than a four-year degree. One of two bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) bills that Congressman Williams recently introduced seeks to address this. H.R. 3365, the Student Debt Alternative and CTE Awareness Act would require applicants for federal student loans to acknowledge and sign a one-page summary that explains the opportunities CTE programs provide as well as the cost difference between typical CTE programs and 4-year degrees.
The second CTE bill introduced by Congressman Williams, H.R. 3366, the Supporting Small Business and Career and Technical Education Act, would amend the Small Business Act to direct Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) to assist small businesses in hiring graduates from career and technical education programs. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to participate in our action alert and let your representatives in Congress know why they should support these bills.
ACCA thanks Congressman Williams, Hill College, and all those who joined the event for their continued commitment to improving America’s workforce.
This article originally appeared here.
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