ARLINGTON, Va. — Barton James, ACCA interim president and CEO, released the following statement applauding passage of the First Step Act, bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation that passed the Senate and House this month. 

"Reforming America’s criminal justice system is a critical step in addressing the skilled workforce constraints and record low unemployment rates our country is facing," James said. "Helping federal prisoners participate in job training programs and develop important skills will help them rejoin the workplace. Included in this bill is the Second Chance Reauthorization Act, which provides state and local grants that have helped many reformed prisoners improve their lives by providing them an opportunity to enter the workplace.

“One of ACCA’s top priorities is helping contractors find and retain skilled workers to fill the tens of thousands of jobs available in the HVACR industry," he continued. "The First Step Act is a jobs bill that helps federal prisoners earn essential skills and participate in training programs to become employable workers."

James thanked Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., for his decades of leadership on the Second Chance Act, as well as Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga.; Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.; Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas; Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.; Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., for their leadership to pass the First Step Act.

“ACCA also thanks former President Barack Obama for his efforts that helped start this process and President Donald Trump for his leadership that ensured this legislation received necessary support to pass the House and Senate," James said. "ACCA looks forward to working with policy makers to ensure the First Step Act has the desired results of preparing incarcerated men and women to successfully return to their communities to fill high-demand jobs available in the HVACR industry.”

This legislation will now go to President Trump who has said he will sign it into law.

Publication date: 12/26/2018

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!