National Coalition Launches “Hardhats for Highways” Campaign to Alert Congress to
Highway Trust Fund Crisis, and the Connection Between Jobs & Transportation Funding
(LAS VEGAS, NEV.)— With the federal Highway Trust Fund projected to be unable to support any new highway, bridge and public transportation improvements in fiscal year 2015, a national coalition of associations and labor unions announced today that it is launching a campaign to help educate Congress about the connection between local jobs and federal highway and transit investment.
“Hardhats for Highways” is aimed at encouraging transportation construction firms and their employees to contact their U.S. representative and senators and let them know how many local jobs depend on federal transportation funding, officials with the Transportation Construction Coalition said. The announcement was made in Las Vegas at CONEXPO/CONAGG, one of the world’s largest construction trade shows, where more than 125,000 industry professionals are gathered March 4-8.
“Members of Congress need to understand how many people back home are counting on federal transportation investments,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the coalition’s co-chair and chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “Investing in roads and bridges not only makes our broader economy more efficient and vibrant, it puts a lot of men and women to work in every part of the country.”
“There will be a lot fewer hardhats on America’s highway, bridge and transit improvement projects if Congress doesn’t fix the Highway Trust Fund soon,” says Pete Ruane, American Road & Transportation Builders Association president and coalition co-chair. “The livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers and their families depend upon Congress finding a long-term and sustainable solution to financing the nation’s surface transportation network.”
Ruane and Sandherr said the coalition is launching the campaign to escalate its efforts to ensure members of Congress understand the need to address the pending Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfall that, if left unaddressed, is predicted to threaten the Federal Highway Administration’s ability to reimburse states for already approved federal-aid projects later this year and prevent any new highway and public transportation investment in fiscal year 2015. Federal highway investments support more than half of all U.S. road and bridge capital improvements each year, and the loss of that investment in 2015 would jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs in the construction and related industries, the coalition co-chairs noted.
Coalition officials said they would begin shipping special “Hardhats for Highways” decals to construction and related employers and local unions within the coming days. They are asking employers and workers to write onto the decal how many jobs at their firm rely on federal highway funding, affix the decal to the firm’s hardhat, and present the hardhat to their local congressman and senators as they encourage them to support new federal transportation investments.
In addition to presenting members of Congress with the special hardhats, employers and employees will be able to send “e-Hardhat” messages to Congress explaining how many jobs at their firms rely on federal transportation funding and encouraging the elected officials to support new federal transportation funding. The coalition will track how many firms and their employees present the “Hardhats for Highways,” officials added.
The Construction Education Foundation and Independent Electrical Contractors Association held their joint Apprentice Appreciation and Awards program on February 27, 2014 at the AGC headquarters. The event featured the largest gathering of students and employers in event history.
Follow this link to see pictures: CEFA Graduation Banquet Pictures
It was very fitting the event was hosted in the Henry T. Hagood, Jr. conference center. Henry was a supporter of trade training throughout his tenure with AGC. Henry was instrumental in creating CEFA in 2001. Their vision was to see a broad-based training program develop so the industry could meet the demand for trained workforce.
In 2013 CEFA provided training in the following trades: Carpentry, Electrical, HVAC, Plumbing, Pipefitting, Sheet Metal and Welding. Several organizations have supported this effort by providing access to facilities so robust hands on training can be delivered in a shop environment. American Pipe and Supply has hosted plumbing training, Hardy Corporation has hosted Sheet Metal and Pipefitting and Jefferson County Schools thru the use of the Dabbs Technical School has hosted welding. There is a long list of companies who have placed students in training as well as the Jefferson County Office of Workforce Development, (WIA). WIA funded training has allowed CEFA to create a small labor pool of individuals who have started learning a trade while seeking employment. CEFA has been successful in placing just of 65% of the students in jobs in the industry or related to the industry. According to Byron McCain, “a contractor told him several years ago, if you can create a labor pool that would be a tremendous benefit to the industry.” “It has taken a few years (in a bad construction economy) for the concept to grow into reality, but we have arrived at the point where we are able to supply limited entry level labor who have trade knowledge,” said Mr. McCain.
The Go Build campaign is effective. We are seeing an increase in the number of people inquiring about trade education. CEFA is owned by the industry and has a solid history of helping students get jobs in the industry. The good news is we will have over 12 students paying their own tuition to enter training as we enter 2014. The opportunity for a contractor to hire a new employee who has paid for and participated in training on a pre-employment basis is growing.
CEFA is working to expand the number of self-funded students by increasing the number of Scholarships dollars available to prospective students. Proceeds from the Annual Golf tournament have funded the scholarship program and this year the goal is to double from 10K to 20k the net funds available for scholarships. Many people may see this article about training and scholarship funding after the Golf event on April 21st. If so, and you want to donate to the scholarship fund, just contact Byron McCain at CEFA.
The following students completed the 600 hour electrical curriculum and were presented graduation certificates: John Cook, Marathon Electrical Contractors, Michael Eddings, Pinnacle Electric, Inc., Ray Fortenberry, IEC/CEFA Labor Pool, Andy Hartsfield, Bright Future Electric, Inc., Brandon Hawkins, Stone and Sons Electrical Contractors Inc., Marc Mensah, Bright Future Electric Inc., Karl Moeller, Premier Service Company, Gary Thornburg, IEC/CEFA Labor Pool. Andy Hartsfield received the award for the highest grade point average. He also received the prestigious Richard M. Reeve, Jr. Outstanding 4th Year Student Award. Mr. Reeve is recognized for having help found the electrical training program over 30 years ago. Mayer Electric Company provides each graduate with a set of tools valued in excess of $300.00.
Students in each trade class were invited to attend and receive public recognition for progress in the training program. The names listed below is only a partial list of students in training because it reports who actually were present to receive a certificate of completion. There are many others were not able to attend who completed various levels of training. CEFA provides training in levels that are comprised of 160 hours for each level.
By Josh Caton Director of Membership
The North Alabama Section of the Alabama AGC, during its February meeting, honored members for some outstanding projects completed in 2013.
Dell McDonald, Alabama AGC Treasurer and president of the North Alabama Section, presented awards in several categories: Outstanding Safety Performance, New Construction Management, New Building Construction Under $5 Million, and New Construction Management Under $5 Million.
Contractors recognized were: Alan Mitchell of Mitchell Industrial Contractors, Outstanding Safety Performance; Jim Maynard with Martin and Cobey, New Construction Management for Hartselle High School; Joe Moon of Moon Construction, New Building Construction Under $5 Million for Cognitive Fish Flume in Vicksburg, MS; Kelly Howard of Martin and Cobey, New Construction Management Under $5 Million for the Lawrence County Judicial and Administrative Center in Moulton.
“The North Section awards are an excellent way to recognize some of the outstanding work done by our members,” said Bill Caton, Alabama AGC Chief Operating Officer. “These projects also were winners at the statewide level and were recognized at the Alabama AGC BuildSouth Awards Banquet.”
Follow the link to pictures: North Section Awards Recipients
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