Gluesenkamp Perez, Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg Tour Cascadia Tech Academy, Meet with Local Union Members

Feb 12, 2024
Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez and Secretary Buttigieg visit the I-5 Bridge in Vancouver, WA.

Today, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited the I-5 Bridge, toured Cascadia Tech Academy, and met with members of Southwest Washington labor unions to highlight local infrastructure investments and the skilled trades workforce of the present and future.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez began the day by bringing Secretary Buttigieg to see the I-5 Bridge firsthand, which has been rated functionally obsolete by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and is in urgent need of replacement to improve safety, support interstate trade, and fight frequent congestion.

The Congresswoman expressed the need to leverage federal funding to replace the bridge and reaffirmed her support for upcoming DOT grant opportunities. In December, Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez helped secure a $600 million Department of Transportation Mega grant for the project, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez previously hosted Secretary Buttigieg in Washington’s Third District, after she helped secure $40 million in DOT funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Washougal’s 32nd St. Underpass Project.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez and Secretary Buttigieg tour Cascadia Tech Academy in Vancouver, WA.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez and Secretary Buttigieg then visited Cascadia Tech Academy, a career and technical education (CTE) institution created in partnership with 10 Southwest Washington school districts. They toured the school’s Pre-Engineering and Construction programs, spoke with students and instructors about their work and ongoing projects, and held a Q&A session with students.

During the tour, the Congresswoman and Secretary discussed the importance of supporting career and technical education to help build up the next generation of the trades – which will work on projects like the I-5 Bridge replacement project.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez operated an auto repair and machine shop before coming to Congress, so she has been focused on strengthening technical education pathways to address labor shortages and bring back the prestige of careers in the trades.

The Congresswoman has been supportive of fully funding federal Perkins grants in FY24 for state and local CTE programs. She also introduced bipartisan legislation to build awareness for CTE pathways and support workforce training for forestry-related careers.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez and Secretary Buttigieg meet with members of local labor unions at LIUNA Local 335 in Vancouver, WA.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez and Secretary Buttigieg wrapped up the day at Laborers Local 335 visiting with apprentices and members of the union, in addition to Ironworkers Local 29, IBEW Local 48, and IUOE Local 701.

They took questions about recent progress on the I-5 Bridge replacement and how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is creating good jobs and rebuilding critical infrastructure across Southwest Washington.

They also discussed the need to improve access to high-quality, flexible, and affordable childcare for families in the trades, which the Congresswoman and her husband personally experienced when operating their auto repair and machine shop.

The Congresswoman and Secretary expressed their shared commitment to supporting union labor and improving career pathways and apprenticeship opportunities in the trades that don’t require a college degree.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez introduced the bipartisan Supporting Small Business and Career and Technical Education Act to require the U.S. Small Business Administration to assist small business owners in hiring CTE grads and support CTE grads in starting their own small businesses.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is enabling meaningful investments in local infrastructure that support good jobs and underpin the American ethos that we can build things with pride that last. Building the next generation of infrastructure isn’t possible without building up the next generation of tradespeople – which is why we need to support the hard working folks making these projects happen and the technical education pathways that make these meaningful careers attainable,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “I appreciate Secretary Buttigieg coming back out to Southwest Washington so I could show him the I-5 Bridge firsthand and meet with talented local union members and students who will be working on the infrastructure projects of today and tomorrow.”

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