Construction education to get federal funding

The construction industry’s thirst for new workers could be receiving a financial boost from the Vocational and Technical Education for the Future Act, which the U.S. House of Representatives approved May 4.

Already endorsed by the Senate, the Act (H.R. 366) reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 through 2011, providing $1.3 billion for vocational and technical training for the next six years.

The 416 to 9 House vote was similar in strength to the Senate’s 99 to zero vote for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2005 (S. 250), the Senate version of H.R. 366.

Kirk Pickerel, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of America, estimates the construction industry will need almost 185,000 new workers each year to meet employment demand. He expects more than 1 million jobs to be created in the construction industry between 2002 and 2012, an outlook backed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act provides grants for vocational and technical training, and is one of the main vehicles used to fund ABC training programs, such as the Miami Valley Career Technical Center in Dayton, Ohio, which is supported by ABC’s Ohio Valley chapter. The center features more than 50 training programs for more than 2,200 high school students each year.