Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress provides a road map for states and localities to use Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)—also known as the bipartisan infrastructure law—funds to create good jobs that increase workforce equity and provide good value for taxpayers.
The Biden administration has demonstrated a clear commitment to ensuring that the IIJA raises standards for workers. States and localities applying for IIJA discretionary funds will be judged on their ability to deliver good jobs for local residents, including women, people of color, LGBTQI individuals, disabled workers, and others historically excluded from these industries. The vast majority of IIJA spending is covered by federal construction prevailing wage protections, and days after the IIJA was signed, President Joe Biden issued an executive order creating a new task force to ensure that the law is creating high-quality jobs as well as investing public dollars “equitably” and “efficiently.”
CAP’s new report lifts up proven strategies that policymakers can use to improve job quality on projects that receive federal funds. Specifically, the report recommends that cities and states:
- Connect workers to good jobs by using IIJA funding to stand up high-quality training programs and by requiring beneficiaries to hire local workers, diversify their workforce, and establish welcoming work environments.
- Establish project-specific agreements in order to support workforce quality, safety, and stability; ensure investments benefit the local economy; and help guarantee on-target and on-budget completion of projects.
- Screen contractors for responsibility to weed out companies with histories of violating workplace laws and other regulatory protections, as well as those lacking critical programs to support workforce stability.
- Enforce wage and equity standards with ongoing monitoring and partnerships with trusted worker and community organizations.
“The IIJA presents a historic opportunity to not only fix roads, bridges, and expand broadband networks but also improve the lives of working people across the country,” said Karla Walter, senior director of employment policy at CAP and author of the report. “The Biden administration has developed a clear framework for evaluating job quality, training opportunities, and equity for IIJA funds. It’s now incumbent on cities and states to use this opportunity to raise standards on public projects to increase their chances of receiving IIJA funds as well as expand their workforces, improve the lives of local workers, and strengthen their economies for the long term.”
Read the report: “Proven State and Local Strategies To Create Good Jobs With IIJA Infrastructure Funds” by Karla Walter
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