There's some optimism coming through to us this week with all the talk about the new infrastructure package and other incentives about to released on us by the new administration next week. And boy do we need it.

But there's an area that greatly concerns me. How many of you have been paying close attention to the new administration's attitude toward vocational training. Last week the U.S. Department of labor announced efforts to renew, or perhaps a better word is rebuild, their commitment to developing a new workforce.

They started this effort with the release of new NATIONAL TRAINING GUIDELINES. They will provide training centers, community colleges and high schools nationwide will have clearer guidelines to help train future construction workers.

It's potentially great news for our industry that is beset by an rapidly aging workforce.

But here's my concern. The program was developed as a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Labor and the Associated General Contractors of America. The competency model, which was developed by the AGC Workforce Development Committee and the Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration, is needed to help ensure that new construction workers are adequately prepared for the demands of the jobs.

And I agree with Steven Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America., when he says "The best way to prepare tomorrow's construction workers is to improve today's training programs."

But where does masonry fit in? Take a look at the AGC web and examine the Construction Competency Model. It's located at:

There's no mention of our masonry industry.

We need to get involved quickly if we don't want to our potential workforce to be the child left behind. Vocational education centers can be great sources of our future masons.

I hope MCAA is paying attention.