Welcome to the inaugural issue of Distribution Trends, a bi-monthly magazine designed to showcase the progression of the wholesaler/distributor channel. It’s our aim to serve as the primary editorial resource necessary to enhance the success and effectiveness of HVACR wholesale distribution. This newsmagazine will focus on the topics that matter most to your business, including automation technologies, the vitality of two-step distribution, and more.
Congress Gets its (Perkins) Act Together
As we’re putting the finishing touches on Distribution Trends’ first issue, I’m happy to share some exciting news out of Washington. Congress has reauthorized the Perkins Career and Technical Law of 2006 as the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.
The bipartisan bill, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on July 27, will provide $1.2 billion for career and technical education using grant money. The funds will be appropriated to individual states based on population.
July’s reauthorization marks the first government-provided funding for state tech prep programs since May 2011.
The Perkins Act was first authorized by the federal government in 1984 and reauthorized in 1998 and 2006. The latest rendition removes the U.S. Department of Education from negotiating state performance levels for student academic attainment and other outcomes, leaving it up to the states and their stakeholders to determine their own performance goals.
Skilled Trades Significance
The reauthorization of the Perkins Act couldn’t come at a better time.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) June jobs report, there are more jobs available (6.7 million) than there are Americans seeking jobs (6.3 million). This is the first time this has occurred since 2000.
And, as the pool of workers shrinks, the HVACR industry continues to demand new talent. The BLS’ “Occupational Outlook Handbook” reports the HVAC industry is expected to require nearly 50,000 new workers by 2026 to keep pace with the industry’s anticipated 15 percent growth.
Simply put, there aren’t enough qualified workers to go around.
A large portion of the blame may go toward a public education system that is failing to prepare students to fill blue collar positons. HVACR wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors have thousands of well-paying jobs available, yet these positions remain unfilled because they’re unable to find qualified applicants.
While there’s still a ton of work to be done, the Perkins Act is a step in the right direction when it comes to creating a workforce equipped with the proper skills necessary to fuel the American economy.