Larry Lopez, president and chief executive officer of Green JobWorks, Baltimore, and chairman of ABC’s Diversity Committee, testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access on how recent economic growth is positively impacting local communities.

In his testimony, Lopez outlined how small businesses—which account for the majority of U.S. construction firms—are benefiting because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other pro-business policies implemented by Congress and the Trump administration.

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has given me the opportunity to reinvest in my company, expand my business and recruit new employees in a competitive market,” Lopez said. “In the last year, we were able to open a second office in Washington, D.C.; implement new technological solutions to better communicate among jobsites, utilize data analytics and increase efficiency; as well as expand our demolition and cleaning divisions.

“Most importantly, we’ve reinvested in our employees by giving annual raises, creating new leadership positions and expanding on-the-job education opportunities,” Lopez said. “And with an estimated 500,000 open construction positions in the United States right now, recruitment and retention are top priorities for Green JobWorks and the construction industry as a whole.”

In his testimony, Lopez outlined opportunities to address the skills gap by passing legislation like the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, H.R.2353, and encouraging all forms of workforce development, including Department of Labor-registered and industry-recognized apprenticeship programs. He also discussed the need for a diverse workforce and the importance of programs like Project JumpStart, an initiative of the ABC Baltimore Metro Chapter, which provides a 14-week construction education program for Baltimore City residents with a high school diploma or GED.

Read Lopez’s full testimony here.