The Employer Directed Skills Act (EDSA) (HR6255), sponsored by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY21) is another priority bill for the American Building Materials Alliance. If enacted, ABMA members could offer job-specific training to prospective workers and new hires that can be reimbursed with federal funding from the workforce system.
The Employer-Directed Skills Act seeks to empower job creators to determine the skills their workforce needs, streamline the process for workers to access skills development, and leverage private sector investments to make employers a stakeholder in the reskilling process.
Specifically, this legislation would:
- Allow employers to identify prospective workers to participate in a skills development program selected by the employer;
- Expand eligible programs to include work-based learning provided by the employer or an outside program from a third-party provider; and
- Provide partial reimbursements for the costs of upskilling programs through an Employer-Directed Skills Account.
The need for workforce development is universal across the LBM industry. However, there is a growing gap between employer needs and employee skills. ABMA believes Congress needs to invest in recruiting, developing, training, and incentivizing potential employees to fill skilled labor positions. The jobs and career paths in the LBM and construction industries are far-reaching. Identifying and supporting a workforce to meet the demand for these positions is critical to small businesses nationwide.
This legislation updates the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which established a workforce system that provides career services and upskilling opportunities for adults and displaced workers through American Job Centers across the country. While well intentioned, the program is not doing enough to help fill in-demand jobs. This bill will leverage employers to identify the programs that will provide the skills training they need to fill their open positions.