WASHINGTON – This week, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine helped reintroduce the Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills (BUILDS) Act. The legislation would ensure workers are prepared with the skills needed for in-demand infrastructure jobs in fields like construction, transportation, maritime and energy.
“As we prepare to tackle critical infrastructure needs nationwide, it’s vital we also support a skilled workforce that can take on this task,” Kaine said. “This bill will help foster strong industry partnerships and career pathways to ensure we can retrain workers for millions of good-paying jobs and also strengthen our economy as we begin to recover from COVID-19.”
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and U.S. Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA-15), and Jim Langevin (D-RI-2) also helped in this effort.
“The U.S. infrastructure system is in critical need of updates while at the same time infrastructure industries struggle to meet workforce demands,” said Portman. “With the BUILDS Act, we can improve worker training and provide more resources for job training programs targeted toward in-demand infrastructure-related jobs. This bipartisan bill can help us ensure that we are able to fill jobs in the infrastructure industry quickly and help those struggling with job loss, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, get the skills they need to succeed.”
Specifically, the BUILDS Act would:
- Engage businesses in workforce training programs and ensure worker success in these programs
- Helping businesses navigate the registration process for registered apprenticeships
- Connecting businesses and education providers for the development of classroom curricula to complement on-the-job learning
- Supporting participants in work-based learning programs
- Training managers and front-line workers to serve as mentors to work-based learning participants
- Recruiting individuals for work-based learning, particularly individuals being served in the workforce system or by other human service agencies
- Provide support services to ensure participant success in work-based learning that would be divided into three stages: pre-employment, early employment and continuing employment