LIXIL Americas CEO Urges Support for Skilled Trade Careers at White House Meeting
September 21, 2017
Calling for increased support for apprenticeship programs in the building and construction industry, LIXIL Americas president and CEO, Steven Delarge, met with key federal officials on Sept. 14, 2017, at the White House. Organized by the American Supply Association (ASA) and Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC), Delarge joined other industry leaders at this meeting attended by representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Labor. LIXIL Americas, the global business unit under which plumbing brands American Standard, DXV and GROHE operate, was joined with representatives from other ASA-member and PHCC-member firms, including Win Supply.
The meeting focused on Executive Order 13801 – entitled “Expanding Apprenticeships in America” – signed by President Donald Trump earlier this year to promote effective and affordable workforce development programs and apprenticeships. The executive order sought support from the private sector versus using taxpayer dollars.
ASA and PHCC members urged that its reach be expanded to apply to building and construction industry training programs, emphasizing the importance of the skilled trades to the American economy and infrastructure. Recommendations included are to:
- Fast track current four-year apprenticeship programs by recognizing accredited high school applied technology training;
- Add construction classes back into high school curriculum nationwide;
- Create a national plumbing license, rather than individual state licenses, to establish uniformity, simplify training and encourage portability across state lines for employment opportunities.
“To keep our economy strong and our communities healthy and safe, we at LIXIL Americas recognize how critical it is to attract a new generation of talented men and women to the building trades,” said Delarge. “Think of the rebuilding needs from just the past two weeks of storms. We want families and businesses back in their homes and buildings quickly; we need skilled labor to make that happen. We need well-trained labor to assure that those homes and buildings function effectively and make everyday life comfortable and secure.”
Ongoing Support for Trade Careers
Encouraging careers in the skilled trades, LIXIL Americas is a founding sponsor of the Generation Next program spearheaded by This Old House. This philanthropic initiative raises money from companies and trade groups in the building and construction industry to provide scholarships for students pursuing careers as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, roofers, masons and other skilled professions.
Additionally, the New Jersey-headquartered LIXIL Americas provides training and career mentoring to high school and adult vocational education programs throughout its home state. This initiative includes tours of its research and design center in Piscataway, N.J., as well as product donations to upgrade training facilities at local schools. Skilled plumbers, contractors and builders are also provided with product usage training, with a focus on commercial fixtures and faucets, plus a tour of the company’s product development and testing facilities
“We are committed to raising awareness of how a career in the skilled trades can be emotionally fulfilling and financially rewarding to young people seeking a vocation,” said Delarge. “By providing scholarship funds, we can help ensure that we have a talented ‘next generation’ who aspire to these viable trade professions. From helping to fund scholarships to promoting policy change, we are proud to champion these financially rewarding and personally satisfying careers.”