Posted December 26, 2018

Trump signs First Step Act into law

New criminal justice legislation will provide vocational training for prisoners.

President Trump has signed into law the First Step Act, NAHB-supported criminal justice and prison reform legislation that will provide vocational training for prisoners in an effort to reduce recidivism rates. The measure passed both chambers of Congress with strong bipartisan support.

In a letter of support sent to lawmakers earlier this year, NAHB cited the benefits of similar training programs administered through the Home Builders Institute (HBI), the association’s educational arm.

For example, in Sheridan, Ill., HBI is training 150 individuals per day at a medium security facility. They are learning basic skills in carpentry, masonry, the electrical trade, plumbing and construction technology that will award them several important certificates to assist in finding work upon their release.

Other home builders associations across the nation have similarly pursued successful partnerships with area prisons to train incarcerated individuals for careers in construction when they re-enter their communities.

The First Step Act could achieve the same results at the federal level.

In an official statement commending the bill, NAHB Chairman Randy Noel cited HBI efforts in this area, noted that the bill will help address chronic labor shortages within the construction industry and said that the legislation also complements the president’s workforce development initiative.

He also stated that “a renewed federal emphasis on workforce training, coupled with private sector participation, will help meet a growing demand for skilled construction workers. Taking concrete steps to fulfill this need will boost housing and economic growth and help to ease the nation’s housing affordability woes.”

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