April 21, 2022
April 21, 2022
ARPA funds can support community-labor training partnerships and help secure Bipartisan Infrastructure Law resources
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department recognizes that the nation will best recover from the pandemic by strengthening the middle class and ensuring that new opportunities for high-quality jobs include those who often face discrimination in the labor market — especially people with low incomes, and Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people. Support for apprenticeship-readiness programs created by community-labor partnerships and serving people or communities that were “disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic are “presumed eligible” ARPA expenditures for state and local governments. (See definition of “disproportionately impacted” and list of “presumed eligible” ARPA services.) In turn, the creation or expansion of community-labor training partnerships can help state and local governments secure competitive grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Successful apprenticeship readiness programs help knock down barriers to employment by connecting participants to on-the-job training opportunities, classroom stipends, child care, transit passes, uniforms and work boots, certificates for qualified employment, and more.
Communities can increase their likelihood for securing competitive grants from the BIL by creating pathways for disadvantaged workers into good union jobs.
Federal infrastructure funds must be used to create good union jobs, generate opportunities for disadvantaged and underserved communities, advance climate resiliency and sustainability, and invest in domestic manufacturing. This is how communities can maximize the benefits from public dollars. To accomplish these ends, the Biden administration is encouraging state and local governments to implement policies in conjunction with federally funded infrastructure projects designed to:
For federally funded infrastructure projects, state and local governments can create a first-source referral system that prioritizes applications from disadvantaged workers and communities for job opportunities created through this legislation. They can require 20% of work hours be completed by apprentices in registered apprenticeships or apprenticeship readiness programs, with at least half of those work hours completed by workers from disadvantaged communities. To leverage ARPA funds in this way, disadvantaged communities should be defined using ARPA guidelines for those “disproportionately impacted” by the pandemic.
For more information on best practices, see our report Maximizing Value: Ensuring community benefits from federal climate infrastructure package. It includes the following spotlight on Building Futures, a community-labor training partnership that builds on-ramps to career pathways in the building trades for disadvantaged communities. Nearly all of the graduates from this apprenticeship readiness program go on to secure well-paid jobs in the trades or other meaningful opportunities.
Building FuturesQuality pre-apprenticeship program
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