Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) has introduced two bills that would create a new immigration visa system for nonfarm workers and potentially provide more money for construction career training and apprenticeships, according to www.constructiondive.com.
The "Workforce for an Expanding Economy Act" would allow U.S. employers to staff preapproved projects in construction and other industries with temporary foreign workers, pending federal government authorization.
The "USA Workforce Tax Credit Act" would encourage charitable donations for community-based apprenticeships, workforce development and career and technical education programs. A tax credit—capped at $2 billion—would take effect this year, with half of the credit earmarked for apprenticeships and other job preparedness programs.
In January, the Associated General Contractors of America reported 79 percent of construction companies planned on expanding their workforces this year; however, about the same percentage were concerned they would not be able to find enough workers to meet their needs.