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Previous Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) grants with focus on equity and job quality

U.S. DEPARTMENT of TRANSPORTATION

Department of Transportation – RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainable and Equity)

  • RAISE grants are $ 2.2 billion dollar competitive grants for capital investments in surface transportation. This grant included language that urged applicants to: 
    • "Proactively address racial equity;" 
    • "Reduce barriers to opportunity;" 
    • "Support the creation of good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union;" 
    • "Provide opportunities for all workers including workers underrepresented in construction jobs to be trained and placed in good-paying jobs directly related to the project;" 
    • Use "Project Labor Agreements and/or Local Hire provisions, training and placement programs for underrepresented workers;" and 
    • Adopt an "equity and inclusion program/plan" focused on "procurement, material sourcing, construction, inspection, and hiring." 
  • See how projects awarded from this program are prioritizing job quality and equity.

Department of Transportation – LO-NO (Low or No Emission)

  • LO-NO grants are $1.66 billion dollar competitive grants for the purchase of low or no emission vehicles for transit operations. This grant included language that urged applicants to commit to invest 5% of their awards to fund workforce development, including registered apprenticeship and other labor-management training.  In addition, this grant also included criteria encouraging applicants to: 
    • Create "good paying jobs with free and fair choice to a union;" 
    • Distribute "workplace rights notices;" 
    • Implement "local and economic hiring provisions" 
    • Execute "project labor agreements;" and 
    • Detail plans for "including workers underrepresented in construction jobs and account for their training and placement in good-paying jobs directly related to the project." 

Department of Transportation – PDIP (Port Infrastructure Development Program)

  • PDIP grants are $684 million dollar competitive grants for port infrastructure.  This grant included language that evaluated applicants’ commitment to: 
    • "Advance equity and promote workforce opportunities;" 
    • Support "labor standards and the choice to join a union;" 
    • Apply "Project Labor Agreements;" and 
    • "Create good-paying jobs to the greatest extent possible."  

Department of Transportation – “Common” NOFO (Multimodal Project Discretionary Grants)

  • This $2.9 billion dollar grant is a combined notice to solicit applications for three funding opportunities: The National Infrastructure Project Assistance grants program (MEGA), The Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highways Projects grants program (INFRA), and the Rural Surface Transportation Grant program (Rural).  
  • This grant included language that required:  
    • All federally-assisted contractors make good faith efforts to meet the goals of 6.9% of construction project hours being performed by women and geographic-based goals for work performed by people of color.  The NOFO has a requirement for all winning applicants with projects above $35 million to work with OFCCP (via their OFCCP Mega Construction Program) to promote compliance with non-discrimination and affirmative action obligations. 
  • This grant also included language that preferenced: 
    • Local and economic hiring;  
    • Project Labor Agreements; 
    • Registered Apprenticeship; 
    • Joint Labor-Management training programs; and 
    • Workforce development programs with supportive services. 

Department of Transportation – Reconnecting Communities Pilot (RCP) Discretionary Grant Program

  • This grant program provides $195 million to reconnect communities by removing, retrofitting, or mitigating transportation facilities such as highways and rail lines that create barriers to community connectivity including to mobility, access, or economic development.
  • This grant committed to promote DOT’s Strategic Priorities including “Economic Strength and Global Competitiveness: The program intends to strengthen the economy through the creation of good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union, strong labor standards, and workforce programs.”
  • Capital Construction Grant applications “should also address labor considerations by describing how the grant will support and use:
    • Good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union, the incorporation of strong labor standards, pro-active anti-discrimination and anti-harassment plans, project labor agreements, workplace rights notices, training and placement programs, and local hiring and procurement preferences, particularly for underrepresented workers and individuals with convictions.
    • High-quality workforce development programs with supportive services to train, place, and retain workers, especially joint-labor management training partnerships and registered apprenticeships.”
  • “Each applicant selected for RCP Program Capital Construction Grant funding must demonstrate, to the full extent possible consistent with the law, an effort to create good-paying jobs with the free and fair choice to join a union and incorporation of high labor standards as described in Section A.3. If applicants have not sufficiently considered job quality and labor rights in their planning, as determined by the Department of Labor, they will be required to do so before receiving funds, consistent with Executive Order 14025, Worker Organizing and Empowerment (86 FR 22829), and Executive Order 14052, Implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (86 FR 64335).”
  • “Recipients of an award under this program are also required to comply fully with the Davis Bacon Act (40 U.S.C. §§ 3141-3148), which requires all laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors in the performance of construction, alteration, or repair work on a project assisted in whole or in part by an award made available under this program be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on similar projects in the locality, as determined by the Secretary of Labor.”
  • “Equal employment opportunity is an important priority. DOT wants to ensure that sponsors have the support they need to meet requirements under EO 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity (30 FR 12319, and as amended). All Federally assisted contractors are required to make good faith efforts to meet the goal that women perform at least 6.9 percent of construction 24 project hours and people of color perform at least the construction project hours target pertinent to the project’s geography.”
  • This grant included language that required all funded projects agree to “partner with OFCCP, if selected by OFCCP, as a condition of their DOT award. Under that partnership, OFCCP will ask these project sponsors to make clear to prime contractors in the pre-bid phase that project sponsor’s award terms will require their participation in the Mega Construction Project Program." The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has a Mega Construction Project Program through which it engages with project sponsors as early as the design phase to help promote compliance with non-discrimination and affirmative action obligations.

U.S. DEPARTMENT of ENERGY

Department of Energy – Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing

  • This grant provides approximately $3.1 billion to fund investments within the electric vehicle battery supply chain, increase domestic battery manufacturing, and create good-paying clean energy jobs. This grant supports incentives for investments that:  
    • “expand jobs with a free and fair choice to join or form a union” 
    • “improve job access, foster safe, healthy, and inclusive workplaces and communities,  
    • “develop a skilled and inclusive local workforce”  
    • “set forth applicants framework to ensure”-- 
      • “community and worker engagement” 
      • “plans to engage. . . labor unions and worker organizations” 
      • “plans to negotiate . . . Community Benefits Agreements” 
      • “wages at or above prevailing wage” 
      • “recruit[ing] and hir[ing] local workers especially from underserved communities” 
      • “properly classifying workers as employees” 
      • “permanent jobs and predictable schedules” 
      • “project success in the face of a labor dispute or strike (i.e., neutrality with respect to union organizing)” 
      • “skilled workforce training (i.e. labor-management training, registered apprenticeships,  . . . etc.) 
      • “use of an appropriately credentialed workforce”  
      • “Project Labor Agreements” 
      • “highest standards of workplace safety and health” via the “execution of a workplace safety and health plan” 
      • “support quality pre-apprenticeship programs” 
      • “identify diversity workforce training partners to foster improved access to jobs for under-represented individuals. . . such as those with disabilities” 

Department of Commerce – Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program

  • In this $42.5 billion program, there are incentives for: 
    • Using a directly employed workforce, as opposed to a subcontracted workforce; 
    • Paying prevailing wages and benefits; 
    • Project labor agreements, Labor Peace, and neutrality; 
    • Local hire; 
    • Safety training (e.g. OSHA 10 and 30); and 
    • Registered Apprenticeship (and other programs that serve all workers, particularly those underrepresented or historically excluded); and 
    • Taking steps to prevent the misclassification of workers

U.S. DEPARTMENT of INTERIOR

Department of Interior - Abandoned Mines Lands

This program will distribute $10.873 billion BIL Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) grants to address abandoned mine land problems, including "hazards resulting from legacy coal mining that pose a threat to public health, safety, and the environment within their jurisdictions,” water supply restoration (infrastructure); and coal AML emergencies

  • In carrying out their programs with BIL AML funding, the grant encourages funding recipients to
    • “Support pre-apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship, and youth training programs that open pathways to employment by collaborating with other Federal, State, Tribal, and local government agencies and non-governmental organizations that have the relevant expertise in these areas, including the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization. While BIL AML grants may not be used to directly fund pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, and training programs, States and Tribes are encouraged to strengthen existing partnerships with governmental agencies and non-governmental entities that provide these types of services and to strategize on ways to promote these types of opportunities for BIL AML projects, including by identifying workforce needs for AML projects.”
    • “Require contractors to support safe, equitable, and fair labor practices by adopting collective bargaining agreements, local hiring provisions (as applicable), project labor agreements, and community benefits agreements.”
  • When applying for BIL AML grants, State and Tribal AML Programs should include, in part:
    • “Plans for engaging with other Federal, State, Tribal, or local governmental agencies and nongovernmental entities on workforce training and development issues, including how activities encouraged under Section III will be implemented, if applicable, along with the names of potential partners to support recruiting and training efforts, including community colleges, workforce partners, community-based groups, and unions.”
  • “The Davis-Bacon labor standards are applicable to the reclamation projects completed using BIL AML funding and Davis- Bacon clauses must be included in BIL AML work contracts.”
  • “In order to enable complete reporting, States and Tribes are expected to track the following types of benefits that can be measured and reported, including”:
    • “Demographics/number of workers from under-represented groups, as defined by Executive Order 13985, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government”;
    • “Percentage of workers employed at AML sites that reside in the county in which the AML project is located, or in adjacent counties”;
    • “If there is a community benefit agreement as part of the project”;
    • “Further, for projects or aggregated projects in excess of $1 million, States or Tribes should require that contractors, consistent with State or Tribal applicable law, provide:”
      • “1) a certification that the project uses a unionized project workforce;”
      • “2) a certification that the project includes a project labor agreement; or”
      • “3) a project workforce continuity plan, detailing:”
        • “How the contractor ensured the project had ready access to a sufficient supply of appropriately skilled and unskilled labor to ensure high-quality construction throughout the life of the project, including a description of any required professional certifications and/or in-house training, registered apprenticeships or labor-management partnership training programs, and partnerships like unions, community colleges, or community-based groups;”
        • “How the contractor minimized risks of labor disputes and disruptions that would have jeopardized the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of the project;”
        • “How the contractor provided a safe and healthy workplace that avoids delays and costs associated with workplace illnesses, injuries, and fatalities, including descriptions of safety training, certification, and/or licensure requirements for all relevant workers (e.g., OSHA 10, OSHA 30);”
        • “Whether workers on the project received wages and benefits that secured an appropriately skilled workforce in the context of the local or regional labor market;”
        • “Whether the project had a Community Benefit Agreement, with a description of any such agreement; and”
        • “Whether the project prioritized local hires.”

Measuring Job Quality

DOL Collaboration with DOT, DOE, DOC - Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)