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Infrastructure plan needs training, long-term assurance of jobs

Media Contact

Lindsey Knewstub

As President Biden continues to promote his infrastructure bill, concerns are rising as the U.S. faces a shortage of skilled workers to fill the positions needed in construction, transportation and energy. 

Art Wheaton, workplace and industry education specialist at Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations says as long as there are long-term assurances of jobs, training and apprenticeship programs will aid in filling those positions.

Arthur Wheaton

Director of Labor Studies, ILR School

"Scarcity of workers can be addressed by training and apprenticeship programs and long-term assurances of jobs. There has been a history of training or jobs and the two are not often directly connected. Sometimes training is done in hopes jobs will come later. When those jobs do not materialize the training is seen as wasteful and frustrating for both the training organizations and the trainees. 

"The infrastructure plan can provide assurances (with funding) of a steady stream of projects needing large numbers of jobs. Construction can be a series of boom-and-bust times with good times and lean times. Infrastructure funding with more than a decade of work lined up could certainly lead to an increase in applications for apprenticeships, training, and jobs."

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