Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New CAP Report Creates Road Map to Ensuring Equitable Access to Opportunities and Good Jobs With Biden’s Infrastructure Projects
Press Release

RELEASE: New CAP Report Creates Road Map to Ensuring Equitable Access to Opportunities and Good Jobs With Biden’s Infrastructure Projects

Washington, D.C. — As the federal government’s sweeping economic investment package rolls out across the country, a new Center for American Progress report outlines how the government should implement the policies to ensure the millions of jobs created are high quality and accessible to Americans from all walks of life. The Biden administration’s signature economic package prioritizes good jobs for all working people but requires new methods of execution, monitoring, and oversight to ensure that the government lives up to this promise.  

These projects have the potential to transform employment in communities across the country; diminish the racial and gender gap that has plagued infrastructure industries for decades; and increase access to jobs that provide good wages, benefits, and a free and fair choice to join a union. CAP’s new report offers a road map to ensure that the federal money spent on these programs meets workforce equity and job quality goals. To do this, the federal government should consider the four key strategies: 

  1. Clear, robust workforce standards in procurement communication and evaluation to make good faith efforts to ensure that women and women of color have equitable access and opportunity to jobs. 
  2. Build agency capacity to collaborate and prioritize workforce standards across federal, state, and local jurisdictions to build a dedicated staff of government workers dedicated to job quality and workforce issues and to ensure that the workforce initiatives have long-term sustainability and efficacy. 
  3. Provide technical assistance to achieve desired policy results and ensure equitable opportunity to high-quality jobs and workforce training. 
  4. Measure and report workforce outputs and outcomes to ensure—both during and after the completion of projects—job quality, compensation, and equitable opportunities on the job. 

“Nearly half of all employed workers are women, yet just about 4 percent employed in hands-on construction jobs, where many of the jobs from Biden’s economic legislation will go, are women,” said Marina Zhavoronkova, senior fellow for workforce development at CAP and co-author of the report. “These jobs have the chance to transform communities for decades to come, and women shouldn’t be counted out. As these projects kick off around the country, the federal government has a chance to set up the framework so that women, and particularly women of color, have a fair shot at gaining access to workforce training and high-quality jobs. Setting up the framework now to hold projects accountable will help ensure jobs stay at a high quality and offer equitable opportunities throughout these multiyear projects”

“The heart and soul of President Biden’s economic investment strategy is its commitment to providing good jobs for working Americans of all walks of life,” said Karla Walter, senior director of employment policy at CAP and co-author of the report. “In order to fulfill this commitment, the federal government has to push itself as well as state and local partners to adopt new strategies for centering and bolstering connections to workers and local communities, from the initial planning process to the ribbon cutting and the operation of new facilities.”

Read the report:How to Support Good Jobs and Workforce Equity on Federal Infrastructure Projects” by Marina Zhavoronkova and Karla Walter 

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at [email protected].

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