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More good news for ATA members

Editorial | October 1, 2023 | By: Kevin Kerfoot

As most of you know, Geosynthetics magazine is a publication of the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA)—a member-owned, member-driven trade association representing the specialty fabrics and technical textiles industry to provide members with relevant information, sourcing solutions and networking opportunities to sustain and grow their businesses.

Last issue, we announced that ATA launched a redesigned website to provide visitors with a more dynamic user experience with increased overall speed and responsiveness of networking and resources. The association also restructured several of its divisions to create greater member engagement, improve staff and volunteer efficiency, and allow for a focus on broader initiatives that affect more of its members.

And now, our association has joined with more than 500 trade associations, professional societies, businesses and employers to form the Tomorrow’s Workforce Coalition, established to build support for the Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act (S. 722 / H.R. 1477). This group is led by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Professional Certification Coalition (PCC). The bill is supported by representatives Rob Wittman (R–Va.) and Abigail Spanberger (D–Va.) in the U.S. House of Representatives and senators Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) and Mike Braun (R–Ind.) in the U.S. Senate.

This bipartisan, bicameral Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would expand qualified expenses under 529 savings plans to include postsecondary training and credentialing, such as licenses and professional certifications. It would also provide valuable tax-advantaged resources for families, students and workers—with or without a college degree—who pursue career growth, mid-career changes or pathways that diverge from a typical academic route. 

ASAE president and CEO Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, says the act can empower workers of any educational background, skill level or age. “This pragmatic policy would support all industries and professions that rely on employees with specialized training or credentials. Our community is grateful to the congressional champions for their commitment to supporting our current and future workforce.”

In response to member concerns, ATA has also recently launched the Workforce Development Council, which is working to find ways to build and train the sewing, fabricating and manufacturing workforce across all segments of the textile industry. “There is no question that workforce development is critical for our members across all the industries we serve,” says ATA president and CEO Steve Schiffman.

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