July 2015

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Page 51 of 59

Policy Solutions for a Stronger Technician Workforce Your Participation in Landmark AED Workforce Study is Key to Success O ne of the reasons AED is such an effective voice for the equipment industry is that our advocacy is based on solid economic research about how dealers are impacted by what is (or isn't) happening in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. and Ottawa. Past AED public policy studies have been essential to our lobbying on infrastructure and tax policy issues. Now we're going to use our "secret sauce" recipe to ramp up AED's engagement on career techni- cal education. AED members consistently cite the techni- cian shortage as one of the major strategic threats facing the equipment industry. Distributors in the United States and Canada are increasingly competing with employers in other technical industries – trucking, auto- motive, aviation, energy, etc. – for a limited pool of skilled technical workers. e educa- tion system, rather than solving the problem, seems to produce ever more graduates who lack the basic knowledge and qualifications for technical positions. e patchwork of federal and state/provincial policies is incon- sistent and inadequate. AED understands the technician short- age undermines our members' productivity, increases costs, and impedes growth. For more than two decades, the AED Foundation has been working to address the challenge by, working with technical schools to ensure curricula match equipment industry needs, providing training to current industry work- ers, promoting industry careers, and provid- ing resources for dealers. Congress is in the process reauthorizing the Perkins Act and other laws that support job skills training and the Canadian government has indicated its desire to do more in this area. at's created the perfect opportunity for AED to make career technical education a policy priority on both sides of the border and more aggressively advocate for additional resources and improvements to existing programs. But to do so effectively, we need solid data about how the technical workforce shortage is affecting our members. the AED Foundation this year agreed to sponsor a landmark workforce study by policy researchers at the College of William & Mary. Past AED-sponsored academic studies have looked at the equipment market impact of highway investment, tax revenue and economic impact of various forms of infrastructure spending, ways to restore the Highway Trust Fund's solvency, and oppor- tunities for states to better fund and finance construction. ose reports have been well received by policymakers and created a solid basis for AED's lobbying. is year's study will consit of: Quantify the skilled worker shortage in the equipment industry; Help policymakers understand how the technician shortage is affecting our members; Identify causes for the shortage and possible solutions; Contrast and compare policy approaches in the United States and Canada; and Provide resources to help dealers take full advantage of existing federal programs. Our research team is a stickler for detail and to ensure the integrity of the survey data, only one person at each distributor member compa- ny (primary contact) is receiving the question- naire. To make the survey results statistically valid and derive full value from the time and money AED is investing in the project, we need the broadest possible participation. With that in mind, I hope you'll keep your eyes open and make sure your company responds. Remember: Solid data is the AED govern- ment affairs program's "secret sauce" and your input is vital to the recipe. If you have questions, comments, or want me to send you the survey directly, shoot me an email at caklein@aednet.org. CHRISTIAN KLEIN (caklein@aednet.org) AED's vice president of Government Affairs. He can be reached at 703-739-9513. AED understands the technician shortage undermines our members' productivity, increases costs, and impedes growth. 50 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | July 2015

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