State Strategies to Advance Job Quality and Build Inclusive Workforces in Transportation and Clean Energy
Recent federal legislation will direct historically significant levels of funding toward transportation and clean energy infrastructure projects over the next decade, including hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending. With a substantial share of this funding flowing through states and significant flexibilities to invest in workforce goals, states have new opportunities to prioritize creating high-quality jobs with this spending and to support broad, inclusive paths to these workforces.
If multifaceted action is taken, this rare level of funding can support millions of good quality jobs that can provide economic security and mobility for many people, including demographic groups that have long been underrepresented in these sectors.
This new report, Realizing the Workforce Potential of Infrastructure Investments: State Strategies to Advance Job Quality and Build Inclusive Workforces in Transportation and Clean Energy, clarifies strategies for states to realize the workforce and job quality potential of infrastructure investments in critical sectors, particularly those poised for significant additional investments through the IIJA and IRA. The report delves into the opportunity before states, including specific funding streams on which to capitalize, and outlines a framework for priority actions that states can take to foster broad opportunity to benefit from good quality jobs connected to state spending in two of the most significant infrastructure sectors. To illustrate that such actions are feasible, the framework elevates many examples of relevant models and uses of these strategies from around the country, including an extensive summary of instances of public infrastructure agencies embedding job quality and workforce aims into competitive procurement processes to influence private sector practices.
This report is informed by an initiative, launched in 2022 and co-led by the Markle Foundation, the Eno Center for Transportation, and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), that convened state transportation or energy agencies with their counterpart state workforce agencies in six states. The initiative focused on opportunities in transportation in California, Illinois, and Indiana, as well as opportunities in clean energy in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The initiative explored ways critical state agencies can leverage incoming federal funds to build sufficient, inclusive transportation and clean energy workforces with a focus on good quality jobs.