NSC Invited to the White House, A Call for People Powered Infrastructure

By Andy Van Kleunen, June 17, 2022

Everyone should have a chance to be part of this nation’s economic recovery, including those who were most impacted by the pandemic and the recession that followed. That’s why I was honored to participate in today’s White House Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge roundtable and applaud the Administration in bringing attention to the need for people-powered infrastructure. Today’s event kicked-off a 90-day challenge over the course of the summer to see how many commitments the Administration can get from companies, unions, and training providers to recruit people to be trained for skilled jobs created by various federal recovery and infrastructure investments, particularly in the areas of construction, broadband and electrification — including expanding electric vehicle infrastructure. The meeting consisted of representatives from companies, unions, and community colleges talking about what they are doing to train more people in those three areas.

It is because of our collaborative work with our network and partners – including members of our four Industry Recovery Panels – that we received a seat at the table alongside Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Ambassador Susan Rice, Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling, and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.

Our recent Fireside Chats with Secretary Walsh and Ambassador Rice discussed the critical role investments in skills training for workers and employers play in an inclusive economic recovery. Our ongoing work to ensure people have access to the training they need to get jobs created by the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law is focused on:

  • Investment in a diverse, multigenerational workforce trained to power our infrastructure
  • Investment in skills training, supportive services, and local employment strategies that can support an inclusive 21st century infrastructure workforce – see our five recommendations here.

At the roundtable, the White House stated its commitment to build a more inclusive infrastructure workforce, and NSC’s partners on the ground are committed to the same. For example, on last month’s Fireside Chat, City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Chancellor Juan Salgado highlighted an agreement with the Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council that guarantees advanced placement in the Council’s pre-apprenticeship program for students who complete a basic certificate in carpentry at CCC. The carpentry certificate is one of over 100 certifications offered tuition free through CCC’s Future Ready initiative which was made possible by federal recovery packages. Over 75% of CCC students are Black and Latinx as are over 86% of Future Ready participants.

NSC and our network partners look forward to working with federal agencies, states, and municipalities to ensure that we are fully tapping the talent of all workers, including women, people of color, and local residents to rebuild our nation’s roads and bridges, expand broadband, and upgrade public transit, utility, and clean energy systems.