The Markle Foundation, in partnership with the Eno Center for Transportation and the National Association of State Energy Officials recently released a report on Realizing the Workforce Potential of Infrastructure Investments. In this report, the authors focus on how recent federal investments will direct rare levels of funding toward transportation and clean energy infrastructure projects over the next decade, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.
These investments, namely through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, will touch a wide range of entities through state-level infrastructure agencies, explain the authors. They recommend that states prioritize job quality and more inclusive workforce development in these efforts. Noting how the scale of the opportunity is significant, the authors point out the following:
- Demand for U.S. infrastructure workers—particularly in transportation and clean energy—is poised for significant growth.
- Anticipated growth in transportation and clean energy work will necessitate broader, more accessible paths to join these workforces.
- Building bigger transportation and clean energy workforces provides an opportunity to be more intentional about connecting a larger number of people to infrastructure jobs, including demographic groups that have long faced barriers to joining infrastructure sectors and/or people that face pronounced barriers to securing family-sustaining employment.
- New investments present the opportunity for a broad swath of workers to secure jobs that pay a wage premium compared to other jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree.
The report discusses critical stakeholders and key roles, funding opportunities, and key lessons to consider. In addition, the report offers a framework for state action to support state decision-makers in the efforts to optimally leverage the new investments infrastructure.
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