Bipartisan legislation was introduced to bolster the nation’s infrastructure workforce by prioritizing strategic long-term planning and investments in career and technical education (CTE) and on-the-job training. The Transportation Workforce Investment Act aims to create a robust workforce pipeline to meet the growing demand for skilled workers to maintain and upgrade the nation’s aging infrastructure.
A Brookings study estimated three million additional workers will be needed to meet the nation’s infrastructure needs over the next decade in areas like construction, manufacturing, maintenance, operation, design and engineering. To create a robust workforce pipeline, the Transportation Workforce Investment Act will promote collaboration among government, industry and education entities; prioritize opportunities for youth career exploration, apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships; and support reskilling programs for workers whose jobs may be impacted by emerging technologies within the sector.
The legislation also expands states’ authority to use money allocated from the Highway Trust Fund for CTE programs and other workforce development activities, including increasing participation of underrepresented populations in transportation sectors and updating CTE facilities. For long-term planning, the bill adds workforce development as an element within the Secretary of Transportation’s five-year research and development strategic plan. It also creates a “Taskforce on the Future of the Transportation Workforce” to study and develop recommendations for the Secretary and for Congress related to building and maintaining a diverse workforce in transportation sectors as new technologies, including the increasing use of automation, become more prevalent.