ACG asks government to reconsider new hiring rules

On May 24, the Associated General Contractors of America and 10 other national business associations requested the Obama administration reconsider a series of new hiring mandates it wants to impose on contractors working on federal projects.

The new rules, which are being proposed by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), are designed to have firms working on federal contracts hire veterans and people with disabilities at the same rate at which they apply for positions. However, AGC chief executive officer Stephen E. Sandherr said federal officials have failed to provide any data indicating that veterans or people with disabilities are being treated unfairly with regard to hiring.

Other rules for firms include meeting new reporting requirements, establishing formal partnership agreements with community outreach programs to help with recruiting and putting in place new training programs. If firms fail to meet the goals set out in the two proposed rules, they face federal audits and potential debarment from working on future federal contracts.

Sandherr said construction firms across the country are taking steps to recruit and hire veterans and people with disabilities. He said many firms participate in the Helmets to Hardhats training program to prepare veterans for careers in construction. Additionally, firms across the country have created apprentice, safety and training programs designed to recruit and prepare people with disabilities.

Sandherr said the construction industry has lost more than 2 million jobs since 2008 and the industry’s unemployment rate is 14.5 percent, which is nearly double the national average and the highest for any industry.

Click here to view the business groups’ letter to the Obama administration.