With Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds beginning to roll out, the Biden administration is working to ensure these investments create good jobs for workers from all walks of life. For example, IIJA requires that most new jobs pay market wages and benefits—and the administration is also preferencing grant applicants that will take additional steps to support working people.
While many cities and states already uphold high standards on publicly funded work, there is still room for improvement. As detailed in a new report from the Center for American Progress, policymakers should adopt four proven strategies to improve the lives of local workers–expand opportunities for women, workers of color, disabled workers and LGBTQI+ Americans–and increase their community’s shot at winning competitive IIJA funds:
1. Connect a new generation of workers to good jobs. IIJA encourages the expansion of high-quality training programs. For example, the law provides funding for new labor-management training centers for the installation and maintenance of energy-efficient building technologies. It also permits communities to use transportation funds to establish registered apprenticeships and preapprenticeships. Doing so will expand access to paid on-the-job training, support a steady pipeline of qualified workers, and open pathways for workers who have historically been excluded from these jobs.
California’s High Road Training Partnerships initiative and Wisconsin’s WRTP | BIG STEP program are leading examples of how to connect diverse cohorts of workers to good jobs and partner with labor and community organizations to support program quality and drive accountability. Similarly, local hire and apprenticeship mandates—adopted by jurisdictions ranging from San Francisco to Salt Lake County, Utah—can expand access to new industry entrants and support the retention of diverse workers.
Click here to read the full article by Karla Walter of the Center for American Progress, originally published at Route Fifty.