Advocacy Blog_ABC_Keystone

By Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

Things are really crazy right now. I’m just too swamped. What could I possibly do to help anyway?

These are all responses from ABC members who have not attended our annual Free Enterprise Day in the past. The one-day advocacy trip takes place in Harrisburg every year, and it is an opportunity for ABC members from across the Commonwealth to network with each other, discuss policy with lawmakers, and hear from administration officials who are focused on improving workforce development in every corner of Pennsylvania.

Maybe you’re one of the people who are just too swamped. Or things are really crazy right now. But the fact is, your participation is an enormous testament to the success that ABC has had over the years, from preventing predatory industry licensure that would have made it nearly impossible for the merit shop to compete, to rolling back unbelievable legislation that allowed stalking and harassment.

And that’s just the beginning. There’s no secret that America is facing a workforce crisis. With a record low unemployment rate and a growing number of unfilled positions in every industry, including construction, manufacturing, and health care, American employers can’t find qualified, skilled professionals to perform essential jobs.

Pennsylvania is ground zero for that issue, and, as an ABC member, you’re on the front lines. You see this issue every day – in your company, with your colleagues, your competitors, and suppliers. While there are resources available to help rectify this crisis, those resources sit in Harrisburg and are controlled by legislators who need to hear from you. Only you can tell them what effect workforce shortage has on the economy. Only you can tell them what a qualified, educated skilled tradesperson looks like.

At this year’s Free Enterprise Day on Monday, April 8, we’re pleased to welcome Governor Tom Wolf as our keynote speaker. Fresh off his re-election effort, the Governor has doubled down on his commitment to workforce development, including apprenticeship, craft training, pre-apprenticeship, and education reform. He’ll be joining ABC to discuss his vision on how we can continue to work together to grow Pennsylvania as a business-friendly community and attract talent for our employers.

Taking a day away from your business is a sacrifice, but advocating for issues that are essential to the growth of the merit shop is an investment. It’s an investment in free enterprise, in your business, and in the merit shop community that makes up nearly 90% of the construction industry. So while we expect to see many of your colleagues on Monday April 8, in Harrisburg, we only need one – you. For more information on Free Enterprise Day or to sign up to participate, visit or call the chapter office at (717) 653-8106.

March 26, 2019