News From PCCA...
U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act U.S. Department Of Labor Publishes Guidance Explaining Paid Sick Leave And Expanded Family and
March 20, 2020 - WASHINGTON, DC – Today the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.
As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 16th, the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America. This guidance states that:
If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.
I have been struggling with writing our own COVID-19 dissertation in light of the fact that you have likely received emails on the Corona Virus from every conceivable source including schools, restaurants, accountants, lawyers, airlines, hotels, and trade associations. They all say pretty much the same thing—wash your hands, keep your distance, etc. We have nothing to add to keep you safe as we’ve all been reading and watching the same things.
Ensuring accurate and timely locating “more important than ever.”
March 19, 2020
Alexandria, VA – In the midst of the national coronavirus pandemic, the Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) is encouraging federal and state authorities to do whatever possible to ensure that Americans remain connected. A fundamental part of this lies in the damage prevention process, where excavators and facility operators share responsibility in safeguarding underground facilities during excavation projects.
PCCA Cautions Against SpaceX Participation of in Pending Auction
Broadband Contractors Concerned with “Unproven Technology”
March 12, 2020
Alexandria, VA – On January 30, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve the launch the new Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), a $20.4 billion program aimed at accelerating the buildout of fiber optic, high-speed broadband to rural America. The Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) supported the establishment of the RDOF but encourages FCC to deny a proposal by SpaceX (formerly the Space Exploration Technologies Corp.) to allow the company to participate in the auction of Phase I of the RDOF, scheduled for October this year.
A major topic of discussion during the Construction Industry Roundtable at PCCA's 2020 Convention was the DOL grant that was announced the week before theconvention. The grant is part of the agency's grant program, Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap, which is designed to support large-scale expansions of apprenticeship. PCCA partnered with the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) on the grant, which will provide the necessary funding to design curricula and deliver training to develop qualified applicants for placement in middle- to high-skilled jobs nationwide. The nearly $6 million grant is supplemented by more than $9 million in matching support from industry, including cash and in-kind contributions from WIA, PCCA, Ditch Witch, FS3, and participating employers, for a total commitment to apprenticeship of $15 million in a public-private partnership.
At PCCA's Construction Industry Roundtable during the recent convention, Steve Sellenriek, Sellenriek Construction, updated his fellow members on the work of the FCC's Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). Steve is a PCCA Past Chairman and chairman of the PCCA Education & Research Foundation, and he serves on the Board of Regents at the State Technical College of Missouri. Last July, he was appointed to the BDAC's Job Skills Working Group, which is charged with exploring ways to improve job skills training and development opportunities for the broadband infrastructure deployment workforce and to make those opportunities more widely available.
During the Construction Industry Roundtable at PCCA's 2020 Convention in the Bahamas, Eben Wyman discussed language in the construction procedures for the Rural Utilities Service's new ReConnect Program for rural broadband that permits the use of RUS Form 773 on "small-scale" projects. RUS defines "small-scale" as $1 million or less, whereas the previous limit on the use of Form 773 was $250,000. When PCCA expanded its government affairs efforts in 2015, a top goal was raising the 773 limit so that RUS could realize the full benefit of its resources and more efficiently construct broadband infrastructure in rural America. PCCA will continue working to ensure that the ReConnect Program contract policy will become permanent RUS policy.