AGC Says Congress Should End Requirement that Federal
"Green Jobs" Training Grants Only go to Union-Affiliated
April 23, 2009
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has issued
a statement saying Congress should eliminate restrictions on new
"green jobs" training grants that disqualify construction
training programs that aren't affiliated with a union. Saying the
future economy should be as inclusive as possible, the AGC urged
members of Congress to support newly introduced legislation that
would make any qualified, professional construction training program
eligible for the new grants funded by the stimulus package.
"This is no time for Congress to start denying workers access
to opportunity and avenues to success," said Stephen E. Sandherr,
the association's chief executive officer. "You should be able
to don a green collar even if you don't wear a union hat."
The Green Jobs Act, which was included in energy legislation enacted
at the end of 2007, establishes a renewable energy worker training
program to help create a workforce capable of building more energy-efficient
buildings and infrastructure, Sandherr said. However the legislation
included language requiring all grant applicants to partner with
unions, effectively barring more non-union training programs from
AGC urged members of Congress and the administration to support
legislation introduced yesterday by Minnesota Congressman John Kline
that would allow all qualified construction training programs, regardless
of union affiliation, to compete for the federal grants.
With the AGC representing both union and non-union construction
firms, Sandherr added "nobody should have a monopoly on improving
our environment or building the economy of the future."
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