Statement of NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen on the Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

November 05, 2021

“The infrastructure bill passed by the House of Representatives today makes a nearly trillion-dollar investment in physical infrastructure – in transportation, broadband, water and energy projects. It’s an important first step to fixing our country’s crumbling infrastructure, which is in desperate need of modernization. This is a historic investment that NSC has called for since the start of the pandemic and we look forward to President Biden signing it into law.”

“The bill includes funding for an NSC priority, supporting workers’ access to technology, broadband, and foundational digital skills, consistent with the bipartisan Digital Equity Act introduced by Senators Murray (D-WA) and Portman (R-OH). States will now have funding to develop plans to close the digital divide, including the digital skill divide. We applaud this investment in people along with over $1 billion in occupational-specific skills training grants administered by the Departments of Energy and Transportation.”

“The next step to ensuring an inclusive economic recovery is to swiftly pass the essential human infrastructure companion to these physical infrastructure investments. The Build Back Better Act, as currently being discussed in the House, would include nearly $40 billion for workforce development. The pandemic has caused massive job loss, putting millions out of work – many of whom will need training to access the jobs created by the bi-partisan infrastructure bill.”

“National Skills Coalition convened four Industry Recovery Panels to advise the Biden Administration and Congress on inclusive economic recovery. These industry experts delivered a clear message that investing in our nation’s physical infrastructure without significant new investments in the people who will rebuild and maintain it will only perpetuate inequity and slow recovery. We’ve learned this lesson before. Past federal infrastructure and surface transportation initiatives have demonstrated that unless there is significant 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.”

“National Skills Coalition applauds passage of the bi-partisan infrastructure bill and encourages a swift passage of Build Back Better Act in the Senate.”