The COVID-19 pandemic has had an inequitable impact on workers, especially those without an education past high school, workers of color, and women. Workers with a high school degree or less have been displaced at nearly three times the rate as those with a bachelor’s and minority workers, particularly women of color, have shouldered the greatest job losses due to their concentration in low-wage service industries that have been hardest hit by the economic downturn. During these unprecedented times, it is evident that workers need skills to access the employment opportunities that exist or will be created as the economy rebounds.
In addition to creating jobs, a successful infrastructure and economic development package will invest in training and pathways to employment that ensure local workers who are unemployed or seeking upgraded employment can successfully secure these critical jobs. Congress can enable infrastructure investments that will increase local employment, business contracts and overall investment in the economy by ensuring investment meets the current demand.
Support a $15 billion investment in immediate capacity for our public workforce system
Support a $15 billion investment in immediate capacity for our public workforce system, workforce development boards, community college/career and technical and adult education systems to respond to historic worker and business needs through the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act. (H.R. 6646/S. 3659).
Access to good-paying infrastructure, manufacturing, and clean energy jobs.
Support a $35 billion investment to provide workers, especially those who have historically faced barriers and those most affected by the pandemic, with the pathways and support needed to access good-paying infrastructure, manufacturing, and clean energy jobs.
Meet national training needs for workers
Meet the national training needs and support $50 billion for training for workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or most at risk for losing their jobs to reskill and upskill for new careers of the 21st century.
Eliminate local/targeted hire prohibition
Eliminate the local/targeted hire prohibition and create clear guidance for federal grant recipients interested in using local/targeted hire to boost investments in local workers and businesses.
Legislation NLC Supports
- H.R. 6646/S. 3659 – Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (bipartisan) – invests $15 billion in the nation’s workforce development system as a supplemental measure to ensure that our nation’s workforce development system can respond to the increased demands associated with COVID-19. NLC Statement.
- H. R. 447 – National Apprenticeship Act of 2021 (bipartisan) – invests more than $3.5 billion over 5 years in expanding opportunities and access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships. The proposal would create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities on top of the current expected growth of the apprenticeship system. NLC statement.
- Emergency Economic and Workforce Resiliency Act –invests additional workforce dollars in states and localities for layoff aversion/prevention activities based on projections of local labor markets, sector analyses.
- H.R. 2459/S. 1078 – Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Skills (BUILDS) Act (bipartisan) – invests in skills and supports workers need to meet business demand in infrastructure industries. The legislation provides grants to help train workers and support services — like childcare, pre-employment training, transportation, and career counseling — to help workers succeed in work-based learning programs.
- Build Local, Hire Local Act – ensure that federal infrastructure investments put low-income communities first and prioritize local workers and disadvantaged businesses. .