The recently launched Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs Grant Program includes funding available to local governments to develop, strengthen, and scale worker-centered sector strategies that build equitable pathways to infrastructure jobs.
As local leaders work to build the roads, bridges, water systems, broadband networks, and semiconductor facilities in their communities funded through the historic investments of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the CHIPS and Science Act (CHIPS+), and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), ensuring that these projects are built and maintained by local workers is essential.
To support local leaders working to ensure a diverse, skilled and ready workforce to build America’s next-generation infrastructure, the Administration announced $80 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Building Pathways to Infrastructure Job Grants Program. Pending availability of funds, DOL plans to make a total of approximately $200 million available for this program over multiple competitive rounds of funding.
Through this program, DOL will fund public-private partnerships to develop, strengthen, and scale worker-centered sector strategies that build equitable pathways to infrastructure jobs in H-1B industries and occupations such as: advanced manufacturing; information technology; and professional, scientific, and technical service occupations that support renewable energy, transportation, and broadband infrastructure sectors.
The proposed strategy must serve individuals who are 17 years old or older and not enrolled in high school, with a particular focus on those who have been historically underrepresented including woman, people of color, justice-impacted individuals, individuals with disabilities, veterans, military spouses, transitioning service members and other with employment barriers.
This program is designed to be responsive to labor market trends, so applicants are expected to build skills training and work-based learning opportunities that can be agile and respond to the evolving talent needs in the infrastructure sector.
Local governments are eligible recipients of this funding as are nonprofits, labor organizations, public and state institutions of higher education and economic and workforce entities. Local governments should consider applying in partnership with unions and workforce organizations, as well as with entities that have experience applying for DOL H-1B grants.
Grant awards will range from $500,000 to $5 million and will fund programs within the following tracks:
- Development track: Establishes local and regional partnerships that will implement new sector-based training programs across infrastructure-related sectors.
- Scaling track: Expands an existing local or regional training partnership model, with demonstrated success in a specific infrastructure-related sector, to the state or national level.
Applicants to this program will be asked to discuss how they will leverage other funds in support of this program and how they plan to sustain their sector strategies and expansion efforts beyond the grant period.
For the Scaling Track there is a 15% match required. Sources of funding that could be used come from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to the private sector (e.g., businesses or industry associations); the investor community (e.g., angel networks or economic development entities); the philanthropic community (e.g., foundations); and the non-profit sector (e.g., community organizations, faith-based organizations, or education and training institutions). Non-Federal, public-sector funds (e.g., from States or local governments) may be used for matching funds, if necessary.
Both Scaling and Development Track applicants are highly encouraged to leverage additional resources to support the grant project, though this is not required. Given that the Scaling Track requires a 15% match, leveraged resources would be considered as cash or in-kind commitments beyond the 15% required match. The Development Track highly encourages applicants to contribute at least 15% of the total amount of requested funds as leveraged resources. Leveraged resources can come from a variety of sources, including, but not limited to, businesses, industry associations, labor organizations, community-based organizations, education and training providers, and/or federal, state, and local government programs.
Deadline for application is July 7, 2023.
For cities, towns, and villages looking to accelerate their efforts to design, develop, and launch workforce initiatives that build pathways into good jobs created by these federal investments, we encourage you to also apply to the Good Jobs, Great Cities initiative!