LA Times Op-Ed: Infrastructure an Opportunity for Better Workforce
The paper published an opinion piece arguing our “human capital” is depleted
An op-ed from the LA Times makes the argument that infrastructure improvements are not only good for transportation, but good for the workforce as well.
Tamar Jacoby argued that the challenges facing our workforce, as well as our infrastructure woes, are best tackled when we think of them as a singular issue.
“There’s no way we can rebuild our roads and bridges without qualified workers — engineers, estimators, skilled tradesmen and others. And a moonshot infrastructure initiative of the kind being talking about in Washington is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance a skills agenda on the scale needed today,” said Jacoby in the piece.
Six million jobs have not been filled due to a lack of workers capable of doing the job. If the US government were to start an infrastructure initiative that would focus on training employees and incentivizing companies to bid for infrastructure projects, these issues could see some relief.
Here is one hypothetical that Jacoby laid out: A construction contractor specializing in bridge repair might need to ramp up fast to bid on a contract — and need to hire dozens of welders to get the job done. The company could create an in-house training program, or it could contract out to a union or to a training center affiliated with a contractors association. Programs would combine in-class hours with on-the-job training — like an apprenticeship, only shorter and more focused. Company, union or employer association would offer most or all the instruction but partner with an educational institution — most likely a community college — that would monitor quality and handle the government paperwork.