RELEASE: CAP Releases Major Plan for Investing in Communities and Establishing a Job Guarantee for Hard-Hit Regions

The “Blueprint for the 21st Century: A Plan for Better Jobs and Stronger Communities” will create millions of jobs, with the goal of revitalizing economically distressed areas of the United States.

Washington, D.C. — For millions of American workers—and particularly those without a four-year college degree—powerful forces such as globalization, concentrated market power, technology, extreme weather, and attacks on unions and worker rights have exerted downward pressure on employment and wage growth, job quality, and opportunity. This decline in opportunity has been further exacerbated by long-standing inequities in our country. In response, today, the Center for American Progress released a report, “Blueprint for the 21st Century: A Plan for Better Jobs and Stronger Communities,” that proposes a series of major investments—including a job guarantee—to create 4 million jobs; move the country toward true full employment; tighten the labor market to raise wages; and address some of America’s most pressing challenges.

“The United States’ low topline unemployment number disguises the reality that, for many people and in many communities, wages have been stagnant, particularly for those without a four-year college degree. From from Appalachia to Detroit, the benefits of economic growth are not reaching all Americans,” said Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. “In a world transformed by technology and globalization, we must do more for communities left out of recent growth.  CAP’s Jobs Blueprint seeks to tackle these issues by making major investments that the market has not and will not make and standing up a job guarantee targeted to the communities left behind.”

As part of the Jobs Blueprint, CAP proposes five major initiatives to create jobs and spur economic revitalization. Together, these nationwide investments will create more than 3 million new jobs. These are, by and large, investments in America’s physical capital and human capital for the 21st century that the market will not make by itself.  They include:

  • Providing high quality, affordable child care
  • Rebuilding America’s infrastructure
  • Modernizing K-12 schools
  • Preparing America’s communities and housing stock for the effects of climate change
  • Providing critical supports to senior citizens and persons with disabilities

In the most economically distressed areas of the country, including both rural and urban areas, CAP proposes that all long-term residents who want to work be guaranteed a job—with these communities provided federal support to create jobs that meet a variety of local community needs. CAP estimates that 1.2 million eligible workers will participate in the program each year in these counties, of which, CAP estimates, approximately 300,000 will be able to find work through one of the nationwide investment initiatives. This proposal builds upon the ongoing policy conversation around a job guarantee as a measure to achieve full employment, spurred by scholars and advocates who have brought the idea to the forefront of the conversation.

The five major, national investment initiatives, together, with a targeted job guarantee, will create enough jobs—approximately 4 million—to move the U.S. substantially toward full employment while focusing particular assistance on communities that have been left behind—not simply geographic communities, but also people of color, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ Americans, among others.

CAP’s Jobs Blueprint also stands up a new paid training initiative to help workers prepare to fill jobs that will be created under the plan and takes steps to shift economic power back in the direction of workers. By tightening labor markets and changing the rules of the game to strengthen worker bargaining power, CAP’s plan will deliver higher wages for American workers.

The plan released today builds on a previous CAP report, “Toward a Marshall Plan for America: Rebuilding Our Towns, Cities, and the Middle Class,” released at the Center’s 2017 Ideas Conference. That paper proposed a job guarantee aimed at countering the effects of reduced bargaining power, technical change, globalization, and the Great Recession—more specifically, a large-scale, permanent program of public employment and infrastructure investment. In forthcoming reports, CAP will offer additional proposals that are central to a progressive economic agenda.

Click here to read “Blueprint for the 21st Century: A Plan for Better Jobs and Stronger Communities.”

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at apreiss@americanprogress.org or 202.478.6331.