Roads and bridges are a critical piece of any community’s infrastructure. They connect Wisconsin residents with school, work, activities, vacations, and ensure that tax payers receive public services like emergency response, trash collection, and more.
In 2020, Wisconsin’s bridges received a C+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers with 7.4% of those considered “structurally deficient.” Not only is that dangerous, but continued neglect will only drive up the already $1.4 billion price tag for repair.
Tragically, a bridge collapse last week in Pittsburgh left 10 people injured and luckily nobody dead. With so many American bridges in disrepair, this same scenario could play out anywhere- especially in light of an increase in natural disasters and global warming.
“It is a good thing the Biden administration and Congress took action when they did,” said MALC President, Pam Fendt. “Wisconsinites will be seeing bridge repair work this summer. We know the orange cones can be annoying, but everyone has to realize how important the work is that is going to be done under this bill.
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler remarked, “This disaster highlights the urgent work we’re doing right now with the Biden–Harris administration to fix our crumbling infrastructure. Union members are ready to get to work modernizing our infrastructure so disasters like this never happen again.”
And she’s right. Union members continue to get ready for the skills needed and jobs that will be created from this federal investment. Here are 2 of the groups working to strengthen Wisconsin’s workforce:
- WRTP | BIG STEP provides programs and career services with special emphasis on apprenticeship readiness training and tutoring to prepare participants for the necessary apprenticeship qualifying tests they’ll face in the skilled trades. Our mission is to enhance the ability of the industry to recruit and develop a diverse, qualified workforce in the construction, manufacturing, and emerging sectors of the regional economy and to make sure everyone has a pathway to a family-supporting career.
Coming up at their Racine Campus, WRTP/BIG STEP is offering a road-building construction class in March and another in May. The class will provide a hands-on experience to learners interested in beginning a career in the construction trades. Nationally accredited, your training is recognized across the country and will make you stand out.
- EmpowHER Wisconsin works to connect, support, and build women in the building and construction trades. They work tirelessly to encourage and promote a path to leadership for women, to support and retain those that are already here, and to reach out to GROW their membership thereby strengthening all Organized Labor in Wisconsin.
EmpowHER meets monthly and can frequently be found a job fairs and holding educational events like an Interactive Panel on Women in Construction on March 5th. Reach out to Kilah Engelke, Business Agent and Recording Secretary, OPCMIA 599 at firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected.