WASHINGTON — “The No. 1 asset of any employer is a trained and qualified worker,” said Glenn Thompson, R-Pennsylvania and co-chair of the House Career & Technical Education Caucus, during opening remarks at an April 27 special Workforce Development Roundtable on Capitol Hill.
Given current demographic trends, finding skilled workers is becoming increasingly more difficult in the plumbing, heating, and cooling industries. With an expected shortage of more than 138,000 employees by 2022, the industry faces a “workforce time bomb,” said Tom Applegate, executive director of the Ohio Association of Career-Technical Superintendents, member of the PHCC Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors, and a roundtable facilitator.
To raise awareness of the issue, a panel of PHCC members from across the country shared the proactive solutions they’ve implemented to fill some of the many jobs and career opportunities available in the industry.
A variety of topics were discussed during a question-and-answer session that keyed on the need for positive workforce development policy; outreach with teachers, counselors, and workforce boards; soft skills training for technicians; increased career and technician education (CTE) funding; and the inclusion of plumbing, heating, and cooling contractors and other industry representatives in discussions about future workforce initiatives.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Oklahoma, expressed gratitude to all contractors who came to Capitol Hill to offer their successful hiring strategies. As the owner of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma-based Mullin Plumbing, the congressman knows firsthand the challenges of finding skilled workers.