Weighing concers about the workforce shortage in the industry, the Highway Materials Group (HMG) last week sent a letter urging the leaders of the House Committee on Education and Labor to include Pell Grant program considerations.

The letter was sent to Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC-05) in advance of mark-up of the Higher Education Act (HEA). HMG partners urged the leaders to include provisions in the College Affordability Act that allow “high-quality, short-term programs that partner with local industry to participate in the Pell Grant program.” 

Reinforcing concerns about workforce issues, the HMG noted “our nation’s construction and trade industry is facing a historic and widening skills gap. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 6 million Americans are unemployed today, but 7.3 million jobs stand empty – often because employers can’t find workers with the skills to fill them.”

The Highway Materials Group is comprised of eleven national associations, representing companies that provide the construction materials and equipment essential to building America’s roads, highways and bridges. The HMG associations’ members employ tens of thousands of men and women in well-paying American jobs and support increased investment in America’s surface transportation network. Members include: American Coal Ash Association; America Concrete Pavement Association; American Traffic Safety Services Association; Associated Equipment Distributors; Association of Equipment Manufacturers; Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute; National Asphalt Pavement Association; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association; National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association; Portland Cement Association; and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute.