MCCLEAN, VA — An effort to advocate for economic development policy that aims to strengthen America’s workforce has won the support of the nation’s leading suppliers of plumbing fixtures and fittings.
Plumbing Manufacturers International, the McClean, VA-based trade organization, announced last month that it has joined “Tomorrow’s Workforce Coalition,” a bipartisan effort that seeks to have the Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act signed into law. The proposed legislation, currently under consideration by Congress, would empower workers of any educational background, skill level, or age “and would benefit not only the plumbing manufacturing industry, but all industries and professions that rely on employees with specialized training or recognized credentials,” the PMI said.
The proposed legislation would allow Americans to use 529 education savings accounts for skills training, credentialing, and certification programs, according to the PMI. In addition, the bill would allow students to use their 529 funds to pay for associated costs related to certification exams and maintenance of certification credentials, allowing lifelong students to upskill and reskill throughout their careers, PMI officials said.
“These programs could encourage more people to enter the plumbing fixtures and fittings manufacturing industries, as well as other skills-based careers such as plumbing,” said Kerry Stackpole, CEO and executive director of the PMI. “By providing pathways to fill the estimated 693,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector, the bill would enable manufacturers to satisfy their demand for skilled labor (and) broaden learning opportunities for the estimated 48,600 new jobs each year for plumbers, the primary workforce for installation of plumbing fixtures and fittings.”