The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is calling on members of the industry to urge representatives in Congress to cosponsor H.R. 3365 and 3366, both introduced by Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25). These two pieces of legislation bring resources and greater awareness to skilled trades, career and technical education (CTE).
H.R. 3365, the Student Debt Alternative and CTE Awareness Act, will require the Department of Education to publish information on the Office of Federal Student Aid website regarding general CTE information, CTE programs in all 50 states and Perkins funding. Additionally, the FAFSA application must include a one-page summary about CTE programs and how they are a viable alternative to a 4-year degree and requires applicants to sign an acknowledgment box before starting their FAFSA application.
H.R. 3366, the Supporting Small Business and Career and Technical Education Act, will amend the Small Business Act to direct Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) to assist small businesses in hiring graduates from career and technical education programs, in addition to the existing services SBDCs and WBCs provide. The bill also supports career and technical education graduates by directing SBDCs and WBCs to assist them in starting up a small business.
ACCA estimates 115,000 positions will need to be filled in the HVACR industry alone over the next 5 years. In their call-to-action, their organization says it's a priority to address a growing labor gap in the industry: "Congressman Williams’ bills take a step in the right direction towards closing that gap."