NRCA 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.