Vanishing Trades: Government Help

KS Brooks
4 min readJun 8, 2019

I reached out to our local legislators to see if they were aware of the tradesman shortage issue in our area and could offer any sort of relief. While Representatives Kretz and Macomber did not respond to my email, Senator Shelly Short’s office was in touch with me within a few short hours to set up a time for a call.

Senator Short said she was well aware of what was going on and was even able to put a positive spin on it: “… I would say this generation of students has a huge opportunity… We have a retiring workforce, and that just presents, I think, really big opportunities.”

She agrees that the challenge is connecting students to those career opportunities. “Anything we can do to continue to engage and build those relationships that give these students an idea of what careers might be available in the area… We need to reduce those barriers to getting those students introduced into these potential job fields,” the senator said.

Another area Senator Short believes is important is, “Soft job skills — showing up on time, being willing to learn… A lot of the skill centers include those indirect skills that become very crucial for a student’s success.”

Senator Short shared “a couple of pieces of legislation that may help — it certainly doesn’t do everything, but I think they’re all kind of what I call pieces of that puzzle.” These bills are: Career Connect Washington legislation — Bill 5327 — this offers grant opportunities where schools can expand career-connected learning; and Bill 5236 — for an apprenticeship coordinator to perform outreach for urban and rural areas — starting with education and healthcare fields.

Another piece of legislation is House Bill 1981 — currently being considered to bestow tax credits on manufacturers — to help offset fees and taxes associated with someone being hired. They are looking to take what was given to Boeing and pass it on or “normalize” it to other manufacturers. Senator Short realizes that this needs to be done on a scale which will be of more assistance to sole proprietors like our local tradesmen to enable them to have more resources to offer apprenticeships and better pay for those people.

One of the things that has been discussed is a training wage — right now with minimum wage being quite high, there is not a lot of incentive for businesses to take on entry-level employees. Senator Short talked about the possibility of an incentive on D&O (Directors and Officers)…

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KS Brooks

Award-winning novelist and photographer. Fearless leader of IndiesUnlimited. Wilderness hermit, intrepid road warrior. Gluten-free guru. Slightly opinionated.