The hearing, held by the Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure, covered “Utilization of Small Contractors in the Infrastructure Plan.”
On Thursday, Josh Bone, Executive Director of ELECTRI International, testified on behalf of the National Electrical Contractors Association before the House Committee on Small Business’ Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure.
The remote hearing, “Utilization of Small Contractors in the Infrastructure Plan," focused on the importance of infrastructure investment and how it will promote contracting opportunities for small businesses, who will play a central role in upgrading the nation’s infrastructure. The hearing provided Committee Members the opportunity to learn more where about contractual opportunities lie as well as the resources small businesses need to undertake infrastructure projects.
The subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) and Ranking Member Rep. Maria Salazar (R-Fl.), heard Mr. Bone’s testimony on the challenges facing small contractors across the country, and the important role they will play in any infrastructure investment. Bone called the American Jobs Plan the first step of many in addressing the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure.
His testimony touched on issues such as emerging technologies, small contractors’ access to capital, rising materials costs, and increased workforce demands. Mr. Bone also answered questions from Representatives Mfume and Salazar on worker recruitment strategies, training programs, and the challenges surrounding access to capital for small contractors.
Key Quotes from Josh Bone’s testimony:
“Across the construction industry, we have witnessed small contractors building their businesses around niche markets to be more competitive, whether it be in areas like the creation of microgrids, electric vehicle charging stations, low voltage technologies or otherwise.”
“Delays in payment are rampant in the construction industry, especially to subcontractors. This has the capability of crippling small businesses that are unable to balance their books and anticipate exposure for upcoming projects. Small contractors need prompt payment support and enforcement when it comes to working on larger projects like those identified by the American Jobs Plan.”
“The main concern for electrical contractors is the rising cost of copper which has increased nearly 90 percent since this time last year. There is no denying that the broad federal investment offered by the American Jobs Plan will not stretch as far when construction materials costs exponentially more.”
“Many of our industry’s electrical contractors never stopped working throughout the pandemic. Because of this, our workforce demands never slowed. Our industry must hire and train over 100,000 electricians to meet the workforce demands across the country.”
“In the face of constant risk, competition, and an overwhelming workforce need, [NECA contractors] come to work every day striving to succeed. Efforts like the American Jobs Plan and others proposed by Congress offer these businesses a promising future."