US Departments of Labor, Transportation announce cooperative effort to advance infrastructure jobs for underrepresented populations
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg today announced a partnership with the signing of a memorandum of understanding to promote the creation of good infrastructure and transportation jobs with a focus on equitable workforce development using funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The partnership between the two departments will advance strategies to ensure investments create good-paying jobs with the choice to join a union and the use of proven workforce development strategies, such as Registered Apprenticeship, to connect workers in underserved communities to modern day infrastructure and transportation jobs.
“Partnering with the Department of Transportation will enable us to make the most of this historic investment in America and its workers by ensuring these investments lead to good jobs and that workers have the training they need to access these jobs, especially women, people of color and workers in communities who for too long have been left behind,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Together, our departments can provide resources and support that states and local communities need to rebuild our nation with good-paying jobs in the transportation and infrastructure sectors.”
This partnership aligns with the Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Initiative. Announced in January, the initiative aims to improve job quality through the nation by providing critical information to workers, employers and government entities as they seek to improve job quality and create access to good union jobs – free from discrimination and harassment – for all workers and jobseekers.
“President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation investment to modernize our infrastructure – and that's going to create a lot of good jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. “We’re teaming up with the Department of Labor to ensure that all Americans, especially those too often underrepresented in transportation and construction, have access to these high-quality jobs with a free choice to form a union.”
As an example of this new partnership, the Federal Transit Administration today announced a new funding opportunity for low and no-emission buses that dedicates 5 percent of funding be used for workforce development to retrain workers as transit agencies transition to zero-emission fleets. Applicants who develop training with union partners and use registered apprenticeship to retrain transit workers will be more competitive for these grants.
Similar to other recently released Department of Transportation funding opportunities, applicants for construction projects are also being asked to put in place preferences to increase hiring for people from disadvantaged communities into the local area, as authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Labor and Transportation departments will collaborate to help local leaders understand how they can use pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs with supportive services to get more people into good-paying infrastructure jobs.