Trump’s Infrastructure Plan — Who Will Build All This?
Trump Infrastructure Plan + Proposed Budget = Mixed Bag for Nation’s Workforce
A statement from Andy Van Kleunen, CEO, National Skills Coalition
“President Trump’s infrastructure plan lifts up some strong workforce ideas, including a “short-term Pell” proposal that would end higher education’s bias against working people by extending tuition aid to those who want to enroll in short-term training programs – the kind of programs that would immediately lead to infrastructure jobs.
Yet President Trump’s proposed budget (also released today) undercuts the encouraging workforce aspects of his infrastructure plan. He has proposed steep cuts to the country’s workforce and education systems. This includes significant cuts to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds and adult basic and literacy education — a serious problem for 36 million adults without the foundational skills they’ll need to access infrastructure jobs and otherwise succeed in our 21st century workforce. These cuts will seriously worsen our nation’s already critical workforce shortage. Who’s going to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure when there simply aren’t enough people with the right skills and training to do these jobs? Skilled welders, construction crews, and IT professionals don’t just magically appear – they’re trained in our workforce system. Cutting those training programs will make it nearly impossible to execute any serious infrastructure plan. What good are dollars to build bridges when there’s a shortage of people to do the job?
We can’t plan on rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure without addressing the skills gap that’s already holding our country back. The president’s budget simply doesn’t square with his stated workforce and infrastructure priorities. National Skills Coalition has assembled a robust menu of bipartisan workforce ideas that enjoy widespread support from Republicans and Democrats in both houses of Congress. Let’s get to work.”