Roofing Day In D.C. 2019
Expanding The Industry's Influence In PolicymakingAngie Lewis, Writer
In early April, more than 400 roofing professionals converged on Capitol Hill for the National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) Roofing Day in D.C., which consisted of nearly 300 meetings between industry representatives and legislators.
Immigration reform, expanded workforce training initiatives and legislation for improving the infrastructure of public buildings topped the list of issues roofers addressed with Congress at the annual event.
Today, 70 percent of contractors are missing project deadlines because of the skilled labor shortage, according to the first-quarter 2019 Commercial Construction Index from USG Corp. and the US Chamber of Commerce. However, there is a growing effort to educate young people about the value of working in a trade.
“We have a lot of members of Congress who don’t understand [our] business,” Duane Musser, vice president of government relations for the NRCA, told the crowd at a welcome event. “This is [your] opportunity to go up, tell your story, talk about the challenges that you face as an employer, in terms of workforce and not being able to get a sufficient number of workers to sustain and grow your business.”
Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), who has a background in construction, told attendees that the industry’s workforce shortage has reached “crisis proportions.” To help combat the issue, he’s sponsoring the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act, which would tie the number of qualifying visas to market demand.
“If we’re not able to find a solution to our workplace shortages, it will have an impact on our economy,” Smucker said.
Bringing Awareness To The Trades
Mike Holmes, professional contractor and TV host, has long been an advocate for educating the next generation on craftsmanship and construction through his partnership with WorldSkills.
“Being the ambassador to WorldSkills, I talk to the kids and I say to them, ‘Why are you getting into the business?’ [and they say] ‘I wanna make a lot of money,’” Holmes says. “But that’s not the answer. You will make a lot of money, [but] what you want to do is learn as much as you can. Love your job. The money comes after. Knowing that makes all the difference.”
For information about Roofing Day in D.C. 2020, visit NRCA.net/RoofingDay.
Photo credit: NRCA