On Monday, September 22nd, the House of Representatives voted to approve H.R. 6685 introduced by Representative Stephen F. Lynch (MA-09). Approved by a vote of 302-72, the legislation would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, to provide annual grants for the development of regional ironworker training programs for members of federally-recognized Indian tribes.
“As a former Ironworker and a card-carrying member of Boston’s Ironworkers Local 7 Union, it was with great pride that I introduced this bill,” Lynch said. “This legislation builds on the long-standing relationship between ironworkers and Native Americans to provide opportunities to pursue quality construction careers.”
"This bill is one small step in improving career opportunities for Native Americans. On a more personal level, as a young ironworker apprentice, I learned many of the skills of my trade from Native American journeymen from tribes across America, from the Micmacs and Wampanoags in New England to the Navajo and Apache in the Southwest. There is a strong sense of fairness in what we are trying to do.”
H.R. 6685 is modeled after a highly-successful ironworker training program geared towards Native Americans based in Broadview, Illinois. The result of a strong partnership between the Federal Government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Ironworkers International Union, the Broadview program provides highly-specialized training in ironworking skills, related shop classes, and on-the-job education to Native Americans nationwide. Graduates are then placed as apprentices at local ironworker unions throughout the country.
Congressman Lynch’s legislation will facilitate the building of regional training centers throughout the United States, providing graduates with the training and skills necessary to secure good jobs and a stable income to support themselves and their families.
Lynch added, “I extend my thanks to Chairman Rahall and Ranking Member Young for their assistance and support for this legislation.”