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Are We Doing Enough to Ensure the Future of Our Workforce?

from Jim Kendzel, Acting COO / VP Advocacy

I recently came across an article about a program in Canada with the article starting off with the statement, “Windsor-Essex electricians and plumbers could be fully qualified to work by the time they are 20 years old.” It made me wonder why I am not seeing more articles like this one for similar programs in the U.S. Imagine if the U.S. could have in place skilled trades educational programs at the high school level building a foundation for the workforce of the future. As a wholesaler/distributor, imagine having access to high school graduates who have a foundational understanding of plumbing and piping systems. In addition, imagine a world where your primary customers, contractors, do not have a sufficient talent pool to draw from in order to grow and prosper.

ASA is committed to doing all we can to ensure we have a talented pool of candidates:
  • ASA’s recently announced strategic initiative buildingone Future™ includes the initiative Project Talent™ which is designed to “recruit into the industry, over the next decade, 60,000 to 100,000 employees with the needed competencies to ensure leadership succession and a pipeline of qualified candidates to fill anticipated future job openings.”
  • Washington D.C. ASA is a member of the Jobs and Career Coalition which is comprised of members including employers and employer associations from a broad range of industries experiencing skills mismatches and worker shortages – IT, manufacturing, construction and hospitality, among others. Through the Coalition, ASA has been supporting the adoption of In H.R. 5861, The Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act, legislation to reform and reauthorize the nation’s $30 billion-a-year Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
  • Scholarship Programs – ASA’s Regional Affiliates, ASA Central and ASA Northeast, recently announced scholarship programs to assist individuals who are considering careers related to the mission of ASA and its members. To learn more about the scholarships you can go to ASA Central or SA Northeast.
To be successful and to have the greatest impact on filling the anticipated future workforce gaps it will take a full out effort from all of us. A lot of the activity related to workforce development is happening at the local levels including boards of education, technical colleges, community colleges and local apprenticeship programs. I would like to hear from you related to interesting and exciting initiatives you might be aware of or involved in so we can let others know and spread the word. Please contact me at jkendzel@asa.net. more


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