Longtime construction industry leader, instructor and military veteran Frank Boecker recently testified on behalf of Associated Builders and Contractors before the U.S. House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development on the indispensable role that community colleges, trade schools and career and technical education programs play in the construction industry.

Boecker, who serves as human resources manager for electrical contractor Sunwest Electric, headquartered in Anaheim, Calif., called for continued investment in apprenticeship programs, craft courses and career and technical education programs, as well as the need for the federal government to promote all programs and pathways that lead to a fulfilling career.

“The workforce shortage facing construction and many other industries across the country is one that we must continue to address, and I appreciate the committee drawing attention to these critical opportunities available to America’s workers,” Boecker said. “For too long, the definition of success messaged to young Americans is that a college degree is a necessary requirement for a good career, ignoring the value and benefits of community college programs, apprenticeship programs and trade schools.”

“We must continue to spotlight the opportunities for young people and individuals looking for a career through more affordable options: In our case, a free, earn-while-you-learn, four-year education that provides the skills needed for financial independence and a rewarding career,” Boecker said.

In Boecker’s full written testimony, he pointed to the thousands of apprentices who have graduated from ABC SoCal Chapter’s trade program, and the success stories of those who are often overlooked in other careers, such as outgoing service members and formerly incarcerated individuals. Boecker urged Congress to continue promoting the benefits of alternate education pathways for successful careers and encourage more of the partnerships among companies like Sunwest and the organizations and community colleges that help bridge the gaps for those seeking employment.

Watch the full U.S. House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development hearing titled “The Community College Pipeline to Small Business.”

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work.