Officials hold roundtable in Maryland to discuss skilled worker shortage

Federal officials held a roundtable Thursday to discuss how to help worker shortages that have been plaguing businesses recently.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, House Majority Leader and Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer held a roundtable Thursday with both workers who are in training and the employers who need to hire them. The training comes as employers across the country have complained they’re having a lot of trouble hiring qualified workers to fill vacancies.

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It's part of Hoyer's effort to promote his "Make It In America" agenda focusing on education, infrastructure, and entrepreneurship, and supply chain resilience. The plan passed through the house but ultimately failed in the Senate.

"If you’re going to make it in America you have to have people who can make it so training people in the skills that are needed to make things in America is critically important," said Rep. Hoyer.

Secretary Walsh says, there needs to be a new focus on skill labor programs like this, or construction companies won’t be able to keep up with demand.

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"Training is a big part of this, we’ve got about 5 million people in America right now, some left their jobs for better opportunities but the key to it is apprenticeships and job force development training that’s the key to getting people into these industries not just construction but all these industries," said Walsh.

The roundtable was held in Bowie, Maryland which is home to the International Masonry Institute. The institute is producing the next generation workers who build the places we shop, work, and live. But, people at the institute say more help is needed.

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"It’s huge responsibility when it comes to masonry we’re doing walls and the foundations so the type of training we need has a lot to do with safety for sure cause you have to know what’s going on at all times," said Brandon Osborne, an apprentice at the institute. "If people don’t continue coming into it, it will disappear and this is something that needs to be continued because we will always have this need to take care of these buildings and repair what is around us."

The roundtable comes as Congressman Hoyer is working to bring back his "Make It In America" plan.