NRCA Brings Workforce Issues to the White House

National Roofing Contractors Association Chairman of the Board Kent Schwickert, NRCA Chairman of the Board-Elect Nick Sabino and NRCA CEO Reid Ribble met with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney April 3 during Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 to discuss the roofing industry’s workforce needs, including immigration reform and worker training incentives.

During the West Wing meeting—a first for the roofing industry—NRCA leadership explained a chronic shortage of qualified workers is the most significant limitation on the ability of roofing industry employers to grow their businesses. This problem will become even more acute in the future because of an aging workforce, educational trends and ongoing rebuilding efforts resulting from recent hurricanes and other natural disasters throughout the U.S.

Although NRCA is pursuing numerous initiatives designed to attract more U.S.-based workers to the roofing industry, providing for sufficient levels of legal immigration to meet economic demand remains vital to addressing the industry’s long-term workforce needs.

NRCA believes the security and economic needs of U.S. citizens should be paramount in immigration policy. NRCA is asking Congress to establish a visa system, such as the system proposed in the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act, that meets the workforce needs of roofing and similar industries. This system should be governed by market forces, ensure employers undertake vigorous recruitment to hire U.S. workers first, and enable job creators to obtain the workers needed to meet demand and grow their businesses.

NRCA supports legislation that allows Temporary Protected Status workers who have a demonstrated track record of working legally in the U.S. with the opportunity to apply for permanent legal resident status. This would allow eligible TPS workers to continue contributing to their communities and increased economic growth.

“I appreciate that the president’s chief of staff took the time to meet with us and am pleased with our conversation,” Schwickert says. “It’s important to discuss these vital issues for our industry, and he was attentive and asked insightful questions as we discussed the roofing industry and our concerns. Although the political environment in Washington, D.C., remains challenging for solving the workforce issues facing our nation, we will continue working to solve them.”

NRCA looks forward to working with the Trump administration and Congress regarding bipartisan legislation to address visa reform such as that contained in the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act and the need to retain the valuable contributions of TPS workers.

Roofing Day in D.C. is the largest advocacy event dedicated solely to the roofing industry. More than 400 roofing industry stakeholders from throughout the U.S. are in Washington, D.C., to meet with their elected officials.

For more information, visit www.nrca.net.

National Institute of Building Sciences to Conduct Hearing on Productivity and the Workforce

The U.S. building industry is under increasing pressure to deliver high-performance buildings to meet the needs of owners, occupants and government. Owners and contractors are looking for opportunities to improve certainty in schedule, performance and cost while managing risks. At the same time, there is an increasing concern from multiple segments of the industry on the availability of a skilled workforce, as well as the productivity of the buildings workforce today and into the future. In recognition of the impact the productivity and availability of a strong workforce has on all aspects of the building industry, the National Institute of Building Sciences will conduct a representative hearing on productivity and the workforce on Sept. 25, 2015, at the organization’s headquarters at 1090 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 700, in Washington, D.C.

Efforts are underway on a variety of fronts to address productivity challenges, including the expansion of off-site construction techniques; development of enhanced tools and processes, such as building information modeling (BIM); enhancing mid- to long-term forecasts of workforce needs; and attracting new, technology-savvy entrants to the workforce through development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs.

The hearing, which is open to anyone interested in attending, will provide an opportunity for representatives from the planning, design, construction, operations, ownership, finance, insurance, regulatory, manufacturing, academia and other segments of the U.S. building industry to speak about the challenges they face and offer potential solutions. The institute is particularly interested in receiving testimony from organizations that have moved beyond traditional approaches to address needs related to advancements in productivity, safety and project certainty. Case studies, best practices and data on the benefits of such approaches are encouraged.

Presiding over the hearing will be Dorothy Robyn, Past Commissioner, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration; Institute president Henry L. Green, Hon. AIA; and Charles L. Greco, president of the Associated General Contractors of America and chairman of Linbeck. Sue Klawans, past Institute board member and director of Operational Excellence and Planning at Gilbane Building Co., is serving as an industry advisor for development of the hearing and resultant outputs.

Written and oral testimony will be accepted from all interested parties. The testimony the Institute receives will inform the development of a strategic vision to help the industry overcome the challenges posed by business as usual. The vision and accompanying principles and practices are intended to provide the industry as a whole, and individual participants, with a path forward to advance productivity and address workforce challenges. Results will inform activities within the Institute, including discussions during the Institute’s Annual Conference, Building Innovation 2016; development of the 2015 Consultative Council’s Moving Forward Report; and activities of the various Institute councils and committees.

Parties interested in providing oral testimony must notify the Institute of their intent by Sept. 1, 2015, at 5 p.m. EDT. To view the procedures for submitting oral and written testimony, download the Guidelines and Procedures for Submitting Comments to the Representative Hearing on Productivity and the Workforce.