Small businesses across the US are experiencing a severe labor shortage, in response to a hearing held by the Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Workforce Development. The hearing, titled “Help Wanted: Exploring How Alternative Paths to Student Debt Can Help to Strengthen Small Business,” aimed to look at the labor shortage and explore potential solutions to assist small businesses recruit and retain staff.
In the course of the hearing, Meloni Raney, President and CEO of TEXO, addressed the perception issue with the development industry. She stated that many individuals view construction as a final resort profession option, which shouldn’t be only unfaithful but additionally a big barrier to entry for the industry. To combat this perception, TEXO works to indicate middle and highschool students the potential for a vibrant profession in construction, the salary ranges, and the opportunities available. Raney explained that TEXO puts individuals who appear to be the scholars in front of them to showcase that construction is open to anyone. TEXO starts engaging with students in middle school and follows them throughout their highschool journey to bring them into the industry.
Chairman Molinaro echoed Raney’s sentiments and stated that the present education structure shouldn’t be working and demoralizes a few of the brightest minds. He emphasized the necessity for alternative education structures that cater to different skill sets and interests. Rep. Ellzey highlighted the necessity for guidance counselors to guide students towards alternative profession paths, and Raney agreed, stating that constructing relationships with students and partnering with specific schools can result in success in recruiting and retaining staff.
Chairman Williams brought up the difficulty of occupational licensing, which might turn into a barrier to entry for certain individuals in search of to enter specific profession paths. Ms. Patrice Onwuka explained that occupational licensing is a state-level issue that may prevent immigrants, individuals with criminal records, and military spouses from participating in certain occupations. Chairman Williams emphasized the necessity to handle these credentialing issues and fill the gap within the labor market to finish the circle of the economy and business.
The hearing highlighted the numerous impact of the present labor shortage on small businesses across the country and the necessity for alternative education structures and policies that support different profession paths and address credentialing barriers. Subcommittee Chairman Molinaro expressed his commitment to developing commonsense solutions that help small businesses recruit and retain staff. The witnesses offered helpful insights, and their testimonies may inform future policy decisions that may gain advantage small businesses and the economy as an entire.
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