Representatives from Indiana’s electrical industry met with lawmakers in Washington D.C. last week to garner support for several bills in hopes the legislation can close a fast-growing gap in their talent pipeline.
Members of the Independent Electrical Contractors association say if two bills make their way through Congress, they’ll be able to more effectively recruit new talent into their diminishing ranks.
Don Hulsey is an electrical contractor in Lowell, Indiana and the president of the Midwest chapter. He impressed the urgency for the bills upon Indiana's U.S. Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) as well as U.S. Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle).
“They say in five to 10 years my industry is going to be 60% to 70% understaffed," Hulsey says. "Well it’s not going to take that long. We’re probably [already] right at 30% to 45% understaffed.”
One bill would give a tax break for workforce development program donors. The other, nicknamed the JOBS Act, would allow students to use federal Pell Grants to pay for vocational programs like ones the trade association provides.