INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, took a tour of the Sheet Metal Workers Union 20’s Apprenticeship Facility Thursday as part of his last stop on a tour of Indiana. Buttigieg said what’s being done at the facility is part of the $4.6 billion committed to Indiana under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
”What we are funding in the public sector will test the productive capacity of this country,” Buttigieg said.
Trent Todd, SMW Local 20’s Financial Secretary Treasurer, said the union has seen a significant increase in demand as a result of the law going into effect, and that it’s allowed the union to hire more instructors, purchase training equipment, and boost recruitment.
”We have a lot of, a lot of work, a lot of man hours from that funding,” Todd said. ”In two years, we have upped our numbers from 460 to almost 600.”
Also in attendance was Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, who is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
”$4.6 billion—it’s a big deal,” Rep. Carson said.
In terms of next steps, Rep. Carson said increasing union representation and ensuring federally funded projects are made with American products are top priorities.
”AI, robotics, and technology are things that we can’t avoid, but when it comes to maintenance, when it comes to programming, there are still jobs available, so we have to make sure we’re leveraging policy to put Hoosiers to work and to keep Hoosiers at work,” Rep. Carson said.
Buttigieg said an additional $15 billion has come to Indiana alone thanks to private investment spurred by the Biden-Harris Administration.