Our licensed trades are getting older and are taking on fewer apprentices. If we don’t address this crisis now, the lack of available licensed trades will drive up costs and push work away from our state. This will lead to a slower growth, or worse, a declining economy.

The solution would seem simple: train more apprentices. Unfortunately, the restrictions on how many apprentices can work on a job site or under a licensee are making it impossible to fill our state’s need for licensed skilled trades.

We are facing a crisis and we need action.

We need clear and consistent rules that help make our licensed trades stronger by ensuring that there are enough people to do the work and that they all have the skills and knowledge to do the job.

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To:  Governor Baker, Your State Senator, Your State Representative

Dear [recipient name will go here],

Massachusetts is facing a crisis for skilled workers – and in particular within our licensed building trades. Our workforce is aging and retiring, but we are not training enough apprentices to fill the gap.

Currently, and as a result of this shortage, graduating vocational students in Massachusetts, who are expecting to become apprentices, are unable to be matched with licensed counterparts. Fewer and fewer of those qualified to apprentice are able to find an apprenticeship. Even though the government has made vocational training a priority and funneled millions of dollars into education and training, we have failed to balance the other side of the equation with common sense licensing that gets people working.

This crisis affects everyone in the state. Fewer licensed tradespeople means infrastructure projects are delayed and cost more; new housing stock can’t be built fast enough to meet demand – driving up the cost of housing; homeowners are turning to unlicensed handymen to get work done – without the proper permits – putting the safety of everyone at risk. We’ve seen examples of this with injuries to workers, and worse, the death of firefighters responding to fires that should never have happened.

With this challenge comes the opportunity to make targeted, and time limited changes to our apprenticeship program to help get us through this crisis.

I’m asking for your help.

Will you commit to a plan to build a broad coalition of trade workers, government and industry associations, political leaders, state boards, trade unions, educators, economic development professionals, consumer interest and affordable housing advocates, wholesalers, manufacturers, developers and real estate professionals, as well as the general public; to identify solutions that will expand the available licensed trade labor and apprenticeship opportunities for a new generation of workers?

Please identify the actions that you will take. My vote depends on it.

Sincerely,

[your name will go here]
[your email address will go here], [your location will go here]

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