NSC and members of Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel urge NEC and DPC to ensure workforce training is included in infrastructure legislation

By Nicky Lauricella Coolberth, June 30, 2021

Washington, D.C. – National Skills Coalition (NSC) CEO Andy Van Kleunen sent a letter to the Domestic Policy Council and the National Economic Council on behalf of the Coalition’s members and the 21 members of its Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel regarding negotiations between the White House and members of the Senate on the bipartisan infrastructure package. The letter thanked Director Rice and Director Deese for the valuable work they’ve done to shape President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and urged their support for a key bi-partisan provision that has been dropped out of the deal: workforce training investments that will allow unemployed workers from other sectors to access newly created jobs.

“President Biden’s American Jobs Plan made this vital connection between human and physical capital by linking its infrastructure proposals to a $100 billion investment in workforce training. This would allow workers most impacted by the COVID recession, including those laid off from sectors like retail and hospitality or living in struggling communities, to be among those employed in the jobs created by these investments.”

Unfortunately, the current bi-partisan infrastructure proposal has removed all workforce training from its package even though there is still nearly $1 trillion of investment in transportation, broadband, water, and energy projects. Past federal infrastructure and surface transportation initiatives have demonstrated that unless there is hard-wired funding for local worker training provided alongside the capital project funding itself, those not already employed in these sectors will rarely be trained for hire on these projects.”

“Earlier this year, NSC convened an Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel of leading business leaders, labor management partnerships, local government officials, community organizations, and community colleges versed in the workforce development needs of the construction transportation, clean energy, and public utility sectors. Among the panel’s policy recommendations to the Biden Administration and Congress was to make sure workforce development funding was not separated from the funding for the local planning, bidding, and construction of federal infrastructure projects.”

Read the full letter here.