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Kaine Reintroduces Bill to Expand Skills Training for New Infrastructure Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, reintroduced the Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills (BUILDS) Act. The legislation would help develop high-quality work-based learning programs to train workers for in-demand infrastructure jobs—millions of which are being created across the country thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other legislation Kaine has helped pass.

“I’m glad to have helped pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is fixing our crumbling infrastructure and creating millions of jobs across America in the process,” said Kaine. “This bill will help give our workers the skills they need to harness those job opportunities by supporting work-based learning programs and increasing support services to underserved populations. Investing in our workforce like this would be a win-win-win for our families, economy, and infrastructure.

In February 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) graded America’s infrastructure an overall C- when assessing different sectors of public infrastructure, including aviation, drinking water, energy, and roads. Six months later, Kaine supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which authorized $1.2 trillion for transportation and infrastructure spending. This funding will create millions of new jobs over the next decade, nearly half of which will require skilled job training. The BUILDS Act promotes sector partnerships made up of local businesses and industry organizations, workforce boards, labor representatives, and education and training providers to support workforce training programs to create the skilled workforce necessary to fill these new jobs.

Specifically, the BUILDS Act would:

  • Engage businesses in work-based learning and ensure worker success in these programs.
  • Help businesses by:
    • Connecting them with education providers for the development of classroom curriculum to complement on-the-job learning;
    • Training managers and front-line workers to serve as mentors to work-based learning participants;
    • Recruiting individuals for work-based learning programs.
  • Engage businesses in workforce training programs and ensure worker success across three stages: pre-employment, early employment, and continuing employment.   

The BUILDS Act is endorsed by Advance CTE, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Jobs for the Future (JFF), the National Skills Coalition (NSC), and Third Way.

Kaine has long fought for technical and skills-based job training. In February, Kaine led bipartisan, bicameral legislation to expand access to foundational digital skills training for workers. Kaine has also led the bipartisan JOBS Act, legislation to help more Americans get good-paying jobs by allowing students to use federal Pell Grants to afford short-term job training programs.

Full text of the bill is available here