Addressing the Challenge: Bridging America’s Gap

ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGE:

BRIDGING

AMERICA’S GAP

By: ANASTASIA SASEWICH
Via WIREROPEEXCHANGE.com

In coming years, more than 20 million skilled trade workers will retire from the American workforce—leaving gaping holes in the fabric of manufacturing, infrastructure, engineering, mechanics, healthcare, and more. In the United States, there are currently 10 million young people who will enter the workforce, all potentially qualified to enter these industries. That leaves the gulf between the jobs that need to be filled and the number of workers needed to fill them wider than ever, and growing.

This equation is a familiar one for Brett Melvin, founder and executive director of Bridging America’s Gap (BAG)—a national workforce development program diligently making an effort to connect the workers of tomorrow with the skilled-trade organizations of today. Melvin began working to address the skills gap dilemma in the crane and rigging industry in 2014 when he was selected by the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association to help develop and lead what would eventually become Lift & Move USA—an industry-led organization aimed at closing the skills gap in the crane, rigging, and specialized transportation industries. As Melvin worked to develop Lift & Move, he saw that the crane and rigging industry isn’t unique in the workforce challenges it faces. A seed was planted and an idea began to take shape.
Brett Melvin addresses a press conference held by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker upon the introduction of legislation intended to support skills training through apprenticeship and fill available jobs more quickly.

As Melvin knew, and the people he worked with as part of Lift & Move began to see, the people gap is just one part of the problem. There’s a knowledge gap to contend with as well. According to the 2013 McKinsey report Education to Employment: Designing a System That Works, there is a major disconnect between education and business. Over 70 percent of educators believe that students are ready to work on day one of their new job, but less than 50 percent of either students or businesses would agree with that statement. Perhaps even more alarmingly, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that, by 2020, there will be a global shortfall of 85 million high- and middle-skilled workers.

ACCORDING TO THE 2013 MCKINSEY REPORT EDUCATION TO EMPLOYMENT: DESIGNING A SYSTEM THAT WORKS, THERE IS A MAJOR DISCONNECT BETWEEN EDUCATION AND BUSINESS. OVER 70 PERCENT OF EDUCATORS BELIEVE THAT STUDENTS ARE READY TO WORK ON DAY ONE OF THEIR NEW JOB, BUT LESS THAN 50 PERCENT OF EITHER STUDENTS OR BUSINESSES WOULD AGREE WITH THAT STATEMENT.

In 2017, after several years focusing solely on the crane and rigging skills gap, Melvin began thinking more deeply about the broader challenge the two-fold skills gap posed. The name Bridging America’s Gap (BAG) popped into his head, and after finding the website domain name unclaimed, things progressed quickly. Before he knew it, he was filling out the paperwork to register BAG as a nonprofit organization. By the start of 2018, Melvin was able to give BAG his full attention; by February of that year, the first BAG website was up and running and the first partners had signed on. The organization received its official 501(c)(3) designation just four months later.

A BETTER FIT

Melvin pointed to the current state of affairs created by the existing “college for all” solution the U.S. has promoted as the genesis of the skills gap dilemma. In other countries, education is handled in a different way. “Students are tested early on to find out what will work best for them and are then encouraged to follow an appropriate career path,” he explained.

“Currently, we have over fifteen million high school students in the United States. Over thirty percent (about five million) have no plans to pursue a post-secondary education upon graduating. Of the ten million young people that do go on to college, approximately forty percent will not receive a degree within six years of starting college, but they will have college debt averaging well over thirty thousand dollars each. That is both a national tragedy and a national crisis at the same time.”

Melvin and BAG call the trades skills “… a natural answer to both the tragedy and the crisis.” Unfortunately, the trades “… have become a ‘bad word,’” Melvin said. “As a result, it’s become common in the U.S. for people to enroll in four-year colleges or universities rather than applying for skilled trade positions. Then they leave a short while later with a lot of debt and, in many cases, no clear sense of what they want to do.”

As a non-profit organization, BAG works to align all sides of a given industry to a shared vision, and then lead them in the development of a solution to their skills gap challenge. The effort involves collaboration with students, educators, and businesses, and the end goal is to bring the next generation to the skilled trades industries in the necessary numbers.

This is approached through a number of initiatives, and Melvin likens the process to coaxing two shy people into talking to each other. One of the primary BAG initiatives is the Career Skills Event, in which students from local schools and community colleges spend a half-day at a member business’ facility, moving quickly through a series of education stations and hearing direct testimony from industry professionals. Participants learn about career opportunities while getting hands-on experience.

The hope is that with a clear window into what the various trades entail within their respective day-to-day activities, and the professional elements (good salaries, robust benefits packages, and opportunities for growth and advancement) that place these jobs in a desirable position, students may come to find them much more attractive—and maybe even a better fit than a four-year-college education path.

“WE WORK DILIGENTLY TO BRING TOGETHER YOUNG PEOPLE AND EDUCATORS WITH EMPLOYERS TO HELP BUILD A LONG-TERM ENTRY- LEVEL EMPLOYEE PIPELINE.”

BRETT MELVIN

“WE WORK DILIGENTLY TO BRING TOGETHER YOUNG PEOPLE AND EDUCATORS WITH EMPLOYERS TO HELP BUILD A LONG-TERM ENTRY- LEVEL EMPLOYEE PIPELINE.”

BRETT MELVIN

POSITIVE SIGNS

Because BAG is working to alleviate the skills gap in a number of industries, the organization has to work hard to ensure that its approach is as dynamic and varied as the industries it serves. Melvin noted that while the Career Skills Events are among BAG’s initiatives, there are no two events that are exactly alike.

“Depending on the event and the partner we’re working with, we focus more heavily on either building business participation or attracting student attendees,” he said. “There is no one way, but a multitude of logical attempts each time until we find a way that works best. The exact same way rarely works twice in a row. Educators and students and businesses know they need each other, but aren’t sure how to get the conversation started.”

The good news: the hard work being implemented by BAG and other workforce development organizations like it is beginning to show signs of productivity. Melvin pointed out that educators and other key players in the education system are “starting to wake up” and recognize the problem. Additionally, the government is taking the time to sit down and ask skilled and experienced minds to address the challenge of the skills gap.

Melvin was recently invited to represent BAG by participating in a Department of Education program called ReThink CTE, where “CTE” stands for Career and Technical Education. A number of key CTSOs (Career and Technical Student Organizations) like Future Farmers of America and SkillsUSA were in attendance; scholars described the current landscape and applicable circumstances in the relevant industries before roundtable discussions took place. The goal was to make positive movement in addressing the issue of how CTE is taught in American schools. ReThink CTE wasn’t the first time BAG and CTSOs have come together to address these issues, and Melvin hopes it won’t be the last.

THE HOPE IS THAT WITH A CLEAR WINDOW INTO WHAT THE VARIOUS TRADES ENTAIL WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES, AND THE PROFESSIONAL ELEMENTS (GOOD SALARIES, ROBUST BENEFITS PACKAGES, AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH AND ADVANCEMENT) THAT PLACE THESE  JOBS IN A DESIRABLE POSITION, STUDENTS MAY COME TO FIND THEM MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE.

WORKING TOGETHER

In addition to participating in ReThink CTE, BAG has focused on multiple aspects of workforce development, working early on with the USA Workforce Coalition as well as Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) to help create and promote the Workforce Development Tax Credit (H.R. 1739). BAG has thus far worked most closely with SkillsUSA in Wisconsin and Indiana, but has growing partnerships with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and others.

This October, at the Association of Equipment Manufacturer’s ICUEE 2019, a special careers day will take place on the last day of the show. Hundreds of high school students will be able to see firsthand the many rewarding industry careers available. Melvin considers this upcoming event a major opportunity for BAG. The takeaway he’s aiming for is reflective of the overall change in mindset he says is critical for the progression towards eliminating the skills gap.

“The ICUEE event is going to be really exciting for us as an organization, since it’s the first time we’ll be bringing students to a major trade show to see firsthand the excitement of an industry that wants them,” he maintained. “As adults, many of us have been to more trade shows than we can count. But think back to the first time you walked into a really big trade show that was filled with things that interested you. [These students] will be experiencing North America’s largest construction and utility trade show while BAG is also holding our CSE with Learning Stations and Champions sharing all about the industry and the opportunities available to them. They will have the chance to visit booths, spend time watching equipment demonstrations—and hopefully walk away thinking: ‘Wow, this is where I need to be!’”

501 (c)(3) Workforce Development Organization

© 2018 Bridging America’s Gap. All Right Reserved.

ICUEE Breaks Attendance Records for 2019 Event

ICUEE Breaks Attendance Records for 2019 Event

Tom Pfister 9/20/2019
Via tdworld.com

The Demo Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, featured hands-on demonstrations and training opportunities for utility and construction professionals.

Record numbers of utility and construction professionals converged on Louisville, Kentucky, for the 2019 International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) Oct. 1-3 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Registered attendance topped 19,000 from the United States, Canada and more than 65 other countries worldwide.

“We shattered our attendance record on Tuesday,” says John Rozum, ICUEE show director. “Our 70 registration kiosks were printing 25 badges per minute between 8 and 10 a.m., so we knew the temperature wasn’t the only thing running hot that day and breaking records.” 

ICUEE 2019 included more than 1,000 exhibitors showcasing the latest products and solutions for the utility construction industry. Exhibitors covered a record 1.34 million square feet or more than 30 acres. Exhibits included the show’s signature hands-on equipment test drives and interactive product demonstrations.

“By all measures, this was an outstanding ICUEE with more to see and experience than ever before, and it was gratifying to see such positive energy among attendees and exhibitors,” says Rick Johnson, ICUEE 2019 show chair and CEO Emeritus of Charles Machine Works. “ICUEE is always such a tremendous opportunity to make lasting industry connections that help participants continue to grow and stay competitive.”

ICUEE 2019 featured a new equipment demonstration area, new and expanded education programs and new networking opportunities.

The show’s new UTV Test Track featured utility terrain vehicle displays and test-drive courses for hands-on evaluation of machine capabilities.

“Team Altec enjoyed spending time with show attendees celebrating 90 years of innovation and customer satisfaction at ICUEE 2019,” says Lee Styslinger III, CEO of Altec. “ICUEE always serves as a great opportunity to build and strengthen relationships with our customers.”

ICUEE has been known as the place to be for innovative equipment in the industry, and 2019 is no exception.

“This is our first year at ICUEE, and this is the place to be if you are focused on the utility construction industry,” says Amine Khimjee, vice president of sales and marketing at Fat Truck, a manufacturer of industrial off-road utility vehicles. “We have seven people working the booth and we have been busy throughout the show.”

The Next Generation of Utility Professionals

ICUEE also looked to attract the next generation of workers: A new Career Skills Event brought hundreds of high school students from throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana to the 2019 show to interact with exhibitors and learn about rewarding industry careers. 

AEM, show owner and producer, partnered with Bridging America’s Gap on the event, which included hands-on learning stations, talks with industry professionals and tours of the show floor.

Expanded Educational and Networking Opportunities

New and expanded education offerings included more field classrooms on the show floor and new lunch-and-learn sessions. Desi Matel-Anderson, FEMA’s first chief innovation officer, returned to ICUEE in 2019 to lead three Disaster Simulation Labs.

A new Emerging Technologies Pavilion joined expanded Safety and Fleet Management exhibit pavilions on the indoor show floor. These pavilions helped group specific types of exhibitors to make it even easier to spot what’s new, making them a “can’t miss” feature at ICUEE.

The ICUEE 2019 show badge included access to the show’s first ever ICUEE Live! at Fourth Street Live! Concert in downtown Louisville’s Fourth Street Live! dining and entertainment complex for a fun networking event that featured local music from The Crashers & Soul Circus. The closing Bourbon, Beer & Bites networking reception returned with complimentary tastings of the food and beverages of Louisville.

The next ICUEE will be September 28-30, 2021 returning to Louisville and the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Visit www.icuee.com for more information. 

501 (c)(3) Workforce Development Organization

© 2018 Bridging America’s Gap. All Right Reserved.

‘Career Skills Event’ at ICUEE 2019 Connects Students to Industry Jobs

‘Career Skills Event’ at ICUEE 2019 Connects Students to Industry Jobs

AEM and Bridging America’s Gap Partner to Showcase Career Opportunities

MILWAUKEE and LOUISVILLE, Ky. (August 27, 2019)

 

Over the next few years, 20 million skilled employees will retire.

To help address worker shortages, ICUEE 2019-The Demo Expo will host a special careers day at the show for hundreds of high school students to see the many rewarding industry careers available.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), show owner and producer, has partnered with Bridging America’s Gap to bring the organization’s Career Skills Event to the show on closing day, October 3.

ICUEE, the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition will take place October 1-3, 2019 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. ICUEE is the largest and leading event for utilities and utility and construction contractors seeking comprehensive insights into the latest industry technologies, innovations and trends.

“We work diligently to bring together young people and educators with employers to help build a long-term entry-level employee pipeline,” said V. Brett Melvin, founder and executive director of Bridging America’s Gap. “This first-hand look will be a real treat and a rare opportunity for any young person to see the multitude of career opportunities available to them in the skilled trades.”

“AEM is excited to work with Bridging America’s Gap, and ICUEE and our exhibitors are looking forward to meeting our student attendees and showing them how rewarding an industry career can be,” said Julie Davis, AEM’s director of workforce development. “AEM has worked for many years to help strengthen and expand tomorrow’s industry workforce, and we are dedicated to helping our members, exhibitors and industry segments attract and retain talent.”

During the Career Skills Event at ICUEE 2019, student groups will rotate between half a dozen learning stations, including simulators, for a hands-on look at skilled trade career opportunities.

Industry professionals will also share their personal experiences on how they got involved and what they love about their careers.

ICUEE comes once every two years and is known as The Demo Expo for its equipment test drives and interactive product demonstrations. Learn more and register at www.icuee.com.

Learn more about Bridging America’s Gap at https://www.bridgingamericasgap.org/career-skills-events/.

 

501 (c)(3) Workforce Development Organization

© 2018 Bridging America’s Gap. All Right Reserved.

Smucker Introduces Bills to Build 21st Century Workforce

 
March 13, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. — 

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) was joined by a coalition from Pennsylvania and nationwide to announce the introduction of two bills to develop the country’s workforce and fill available jobs to stimulate the American economy.

The USA Workforce Tax Credit Act and the Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act would work to provide skills training through apprenticeships and fill available jobs to build a modern workforce.

“Job creation and job preparation must go hand-in-hand,” Smucker said. “By teaching the people the skills needed for jobs, they not only can build our economy but also are empowered to improve their own lives.”

There are currently 6.7 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. – including 451,000 manufacturing jobs. Meanwhile, 6.6. million Americans who could fill these jobs are unemployed.

The USA Workforce Tax Credit Act would encourage charitable donations for community-based apprenticeship initiatives, career and technical education, workforce development and K-12 educational preparedness. Eligible nonprofits include educational institutions, community organizations, training institutes, community colleges, scholarship groups and labor union-affiliated nonprofits.

The tax credit would cap at $2 billion, beginning in tax year 2019. One-half of this credit would be set aside for job preparation initiatives like apprenticeships with the remainder set aside for educational preparedness scholarships for K-12 students.

“The genius of Congressman Smucker’s tax credit is that it provides smaller businesses a way to redirect a portion of their tax payment to solve one of their greatest challenges, the lack of trained entry-level employees,” said Brett Melvin, Executive Director of Bridging America’s Gap. “This will incentivize them to recruit and train the next generation of workers including disadvantaged youth and young adults who may not otherwise have a clear path to career success.”

Smucker’s Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act would create an immigration visa system for less-skilled workers to do year-round, non-farm work. Employers and potential immigrant laborers apply for federal approval to hire these workers, only allowing workers to enter the U.S. when they have received approval from the government. These visa workers would only be allowed to work for an approved employer at the approved location for the specifically-approved job.

“Filling our workforce needs is a key component to boosting our workforce and our economy,” Smucker said. “This bill will help fill job slots and I urge my colleagues to support it.”

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), co-introduced the bill.

“It is time to reform our outdated immigration laws in order to vet and admit, by means of a work-permit system based on skills and not family relations, the workers our economy needs to grow,” said Rooney. “The Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act would provide qualified workers for positions that employers are unable to fill. Employers would be required to prove they were unable to find American workers for vacant positions, pay them fair wages based on local wage data, and would use E-verify to make sure only legal immigrants are hired. This would greatly benefit the construction and hospitality industries, which are facing severe worker shortages.”

 “This bill creates work for Americans both up and downstream for the U.S. economy. Most immigrant workers are different from most American workers and they complement each other to create more jobs in the U.S.,” said ImmigrationWorks USA President Tamar Jacoby.

“The shortage of available, qualified, workers in many parts of the country threatens to undermine continued economic growth,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America.  “Creating a temporary, flexible worker visa system will allow all types of economic development to proceed without costly delays caused by workforce shortages.”

“Our economy is in the best shape we’ve seen since we unleashed tax reform and eliminated regulatory burdens. Now we must build on that progress,” Smucker said. “By investing in our workforce, we can stay on the right track and keep moving forward.”

501 (c)(3) Workforce Development Organization

© 2018 Bridging America’s Gap. All Right Reserved.

Bridging America’s Gap Provides Resources to SkillsUSA State Conferences

 
May 8, 2018

ALEXANDRIA, VA., May 8, 2018 (Newswire.com) – Bridging America’s Gap (BAG) hosted 2 Career Skills Events (CSE) last month in partnership with SkillsUSA Indiana and SkillsUSA Wisconsin State Conferences. BAG provided the future of skilled trade workforce with resources, to include options after graduation.

These CSE’s provided student competitors exposure to potential employers through Learning Stations with Industry Champions providing real life experiences on how they got into the skilled trade industries, what their career paths have been as well as tips on how to prepare for job interviews and land their first job. BAG provided job description one-pagers for each Learning Station highlighting job duties, potential salary, required education, training and certifications. In addition, the students and their advisors spent time with Skills Gap Solution Supporters, where the students tested their skills on welding and construction equipment simulators and interacted with representatives and recruiters from local training schools and skilled trade employers.

Many students indicated that the Learning Stations opened their eyes to career possibilities they otherwise may not have considered. Michael, competing in Information Technology from Anthis Career Academy in Fort Wayne, IN, shared that his favorite Learning Station was Diesel Mechanics, hosted by Brett Lanpher with TravelCenters of America. Michael said he never realized how many computers are in a semi (truck) and how much money you can make working in a repair shop.

Kelly Fink, Director, Strategic Communications & Outreach for BAG says, “many students were shy about approaching our sponsors, I felt my main goal was to help the kids feel at ease and to earn their trust. Once I asked them about their passion and what they were competing in during the SkillsUSA competitions, they opened up and I was able to help guide them through our event. One young man was the exception and caught my eye. I watched Gabriel from Lake Geneva Badger High School in Wisconsin participate in every Learning Station and visit all the Skills Gap Solution Supporters on his own, without guidance from an advisor. When I asked if he thought this experience was valuable, he smiled and said, absolutely. Gabriel has a passion for cars and has a dream to own his own shop someday. The Zimbrick Chevrolet Learning Station Champions told him to follow his dreams, Gabriel said that it’s very comforting to know people out there believe.

One of the Industry Champions for manufacturing, Tamara Bradley, Quality Manager with E.K. Machine Co., Inc. in Fall River, WI who started as a brake press operator 15 years ago and worked her way up in the company shared, “speaking with kids today was a great experience, providing the message to them that manufacturing has a lot of great career options. They don’t have to go to college right out of high school, they can get into the workforce right away, which provides a lot of options with tuition reimbursement and on the job training. Getting an entry level position right out of school in manufacturing is a good first step in starting a career.”

“Our goal and objective in hosting Career Skills Events is to help employers develop long-term solutions to find qualified workers and to provide resources to the next generation of skilled workers so they can achieve their career dreams. Understanding less than 25% of businesses have a true relationship with schools, our mission is to help bridge the gap that exist between educators and employers. I believe the collaboration we offer through our Career Skills Events makes a difference.” shared Brett Melvin, Executive Director, Bridging America’s Gap.

These Career Skills Events cannot be successful without the support of local businesses, unions and trade schools. BAG would like to thank these sponsors: Associated Training Services, Brooks Tractor, E.K. Machine Co., Inc., Fabick Cat, IUOE 139, J. Everett Light Career Center, Major Tool & Machine, National Transportation Center, TalentLynk, TravelCenters of America and Zimbrick Chevrolet.

Headquartered in Alexandria VA, Bridging America’s Gap is set up as a 501(c)3 provider of workforce & skills gap solutions that bring educators, students, businesses and industries together. The skills gap is one of America’s most challenging business dilemmas and Bridging America’s Gaps’ highly specialized solutions, which build relationships between all stakeholders, is critical to the success of closing the skills gap and can make all the difference between success and failure. For more information, contact [email protected].

501 (c)(3) Workforce Development Organization

© 2018 Bridging America’s Gap. All Right Reserved.

Bridging America’s Gap Launches a Proven Skills Gap Solution

Alexandria, VA – Bridging America’s Gap (BAG) is pleased to announce the expansion of their unique and successful workforce development program. This will extend the program into additional industries beyond their original skills gap program tailored to the crane, rigging & specialized transportation industry. The first (2) two Career Skills Events for 2018 have been set. April 13, BAG will join with the Indiana chapter of SkillsUSA at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, IN and on April 24, BAG will join with the Wisconsin chapter of SkillsUSA at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI.

BAG helps industries & businesses develop long-term skills gap solutions and a future employee pipeline for entry level positions. The workforce development program created by Bridging America’s Gap, partners with industry leaders & stakeholders to address the skills gap challenge with proven solutions.

Partnering with industry leaders, BAG helps develop, implement and champion a workforce vision for the industry that aligns all the key stakeholders. In working with stakeholders such as associations, business leaders, unions, industry media and educators, BAG coordinates and directs efforts that create Career Skills Events designed specifically for each industry. BAG provides unique solutions, tailored to each industry. During Career Skills Events, interested individuals learn first-hand about potential career opportunities in numerous skills industries and better understand how and why a career path within these industries would be a good career fit for them.

“I began to witness workforce development challenges first hand in 2008 while working with the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Brett Melvin, Executive Director of BAG. “Too often young people do not learn about the opportunities that are available to them within the trade skills industries while they are still in high school. This means the over 30% of students who do not pursue post-secondary education leave high school with no idea of their next step, the excellent opportunities that are available to them in the trade skill industries, or even how to identify those opportunities. Without an aggressive and proactive approach, businesses and industries will continue to miss out on new business opportunities simply because they can’t find employees. Today’s skills gap challenge is truly one of America’s biggest challenges.”

Headquartered in Alexandria VA, Bridging America’s Gap is set up as a 501 (c)3 provider of workforce & skills gap solutions to businesses and industries. Since his first program, Lift & Move USA, Brett has been dedicated to helping industry employers find qualified workers for their entry level skilled positions. Under his guidance, Lift & Move, USA has championed 9 nationwide Career Skills Events for the crane, rigging & specialized carrier industry. These were attended by over 5,000 students, parents, veterans & counselors and reached an additional 100,000 individuals through social media. The skills gap is one of America’s most challenging business dilemmas and Bridging America’s Gaps’ highly specialized solutions, tailored to industry and business can make all the difference between success and failure. For more information, contact [email protected].

501 (c)(3) Workforce Development Organization

© 2018 Bridging America’s Gap. All Right Reserved.

Smucker Introduces Bill to Create New Tax Credit to Support Workforce Development and Apprenticeships

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-16) today introduced legislation to address the urgent need to ensure current and future workers are prepared for jobs in today’s 21st century economy.

The USA Workforce Tax Credit Act would establish a new federal tax credit that will encourage charitable donations for community-based apprenticeship programs, career and technical education, workforce development, and educational preparedness.

“One of the best ways to lift people up and provide more opportunity is to connect them with good-paying, family-sustaining jobs,” said Rep. Smucker. “When I was operating a small construction company, I saw the skills gap firsthand. There were times when we couldn’t expand our business and create more jobs because workers were simply unavailable. The goal of this legislation is to encourage investment in organizations and programs that are preparing individuals for the jobs of today.”

Today there are more than 4.5 million jobs available, including 400,000 in the manufacturing sector. The tax credit would be capped at $2 billion annually, beginning in tax year 2018.

BACKGROUND

Courtesy of EdTaxCredit50

Credit Against Income and Corporate Taxes: This bill would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow individual taxpayers a tax credit to charitable contributions to non-profit organizations that exclusively provide workforce development, apprenticeship training, or K-12 scholarships. The bill allows a maximum credit amount equal to or less than 25 percent of an individual taxpayer’s total liability, or $250,000; and for corporate taxpayers the lesser of 25 percent of the tax liability or $250,000.

Eligible Students or Participants: An eligible participant is an individual enrolled in a workforce development or apprenticeship program. A student is eligible to receive a scholarship from a non-profit scholarship-granting organization if they are enrolled in an elementary or secondary school and reside in a household with a total annual income that does not exceed 200 percent of the median gross income.

This measure reflects the wide variance in middle-class incomes throughout the country. In 2017, for example, a student residing in Brooklyn, New York could be in a household with up to $132,400 in total annual income. A student in Minneapolis, Minnesota would qualify in a household with up to $180,800 in total annual income. A student in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania would qualify in a household with up to $145,200 in total annual income.

Eligible Entities: Eligible entities that can receive tax-credited contributions must be 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entities that provide, at a minimum, workforce development, apprenticeship training, or K-12 scholarship assistance. Such entities would include, but are not limited to, community colleges, workforce training programs as defined by state workforce agencies, organizations that provide career and technical education, training institutes, private schools that confer diplomas, degrees, or certify completion of certain grades, community organizations that provide certified training, and organizations that provide K-12 scholarships to more than one student and offer more than one school.

Eligible entities must obtain annual financial and compliance audits from an independently-certified public accountant which must be submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury. The bill would also impose a penalty on organizations that provide workforce development or apprenticeship training that fail to distribute at least 90 percent of their total receipts for elementary and secondary school expenses in a taxable year.

Eligible K-12 Schools: Schools may enroll scholarship students under this program if they charge tuition, comply with all applicable state laws relating to unlawful discrimination, health, safety, and criminal background checks. Schools must also agree to provide reports to parents on their student’s academic achievement.

501 (c)(3) Workforce Development Organization

© 2018 Bridging America’s Gap. All Right Reserved.