President Biden announced his American Jobs Plan this morning. One of the plan’s primary provisions is to invest $100 billion in workforce development programs.
According to the White House, the workforce development provisions in the Presidents plan will:
Pair job creation efforts with next generation training programs. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest in evidence-based approaches to supporting workers. This includes wraparound services, income supports, counseling, and case management, paired with high-quality training and effective partnerships between educational institutions, unions, and employers. Specifically, he is calling for a $40 billion investment in a new Dislocated Workers Program and sector-based training. This funding will ensure comprehensive services for workers, who have lost jobs through no fault of their own, to gain new skills and to get career services they need with in-demand jobs. Sector-based training programs will be focused on growing, high demand sectors such as clean energy, manufacturing, and caregiving, helping workers of all kinds to find good-quality jobs in an ever-changing economy.
Target workforce development opportunities in underserved communities. Structural racism and persistent economic inequities have undermined opportunity for millions of workers. All of the investments in workforce training will prioritize underserved communities and communities hit hard by a transforming economy. President Biden also will call upon Congress to ensure that new jobs created in clean energy, manufacturing, and infrastructure are open and accessible to women and people of color. President Biden is calling on Congress to also specifically target funding to workers facing some of the greatest challenges, with a $12 billion investment. This includes $5 billion over eight years in support of evidence-based community violence prevention programs. He is calling on Congress to invest in job training for formerly incarcerated individuals and justice-involved youth and in improving public safety. He also is calling on Congress to tackle long-term unemployment and underemployment through a new subsidized jobs program. And, he is calling on Congress to eliminate sub-minimum wage provisions in section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act and expand access to competitive, integrated employment opportunities and fair wages for workers with disabilities.
Build the capacity of the existing workforce development and worker protection systems. The United States has underinvested in the workforce development system for decades. In fact, we currently spend just one-fifth of the average that other advanced economies spend on workforce and labor market programs. This lack of investment impacts all of us: better educated workers create spillover effects for other workers and lack of employment has negative social impacts on communities. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest a combined $48 billion in American workforce development infrastructure and worker protection. This includes registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, creating one to two million new registered apprenticeships slots, and strengthening the pipeline for more women and people of color to access these opportunities through successful pre-apprenticeship programs such as the Women in Apprenticeships in Non-Traditional Occupations. This will ensure these underserved groups have greater access to new infrastructure jobs. These investments include the creation of career pathway programs in middle and high schools, prioritizing increased access to computer science and high-quality career and technical programs that connect underrepresented students to STEM and in-demand sectors through partnerships with both institutions of higher education and employers. The President’s plan also will support community college partnerships that build capacity to deliver job training programs based on in-demand skills. His plan will better tailor services to workers’ job seeking and career development needs through investments in Expanded Career Services and the Title II adult literacy program. The President’s plan includes funding to strengthen the capacity of our labor enforcement agencies to protect against discrimination, protect wages and benefits, enforce health and safety safeguards, strengthen health care and pensions plans, and promote union organizing and collective bargaining.
CREATE GOOD-QUALITY JOBS THAT PAY PREVAILING WAGES IN SAFE AND HEALTHY WORKPLACES WHILE ENSURING WORKERS HAVE A FREE AND FAIR CHOICE TO ORGANIZE, JOIN A UNION, AND BARGAIN COLLECTIVELY WITH THEIR EMPLOYERS
As America works to recover from the devastating challenges of a deadly pandemic, an economic crisis, and a reckoning on race that reveals deep disparities, we need to summon a new wave of worker power to create an economy that works for everyone. We owe it not only to those who have put in a lifetime of work, but to the next generation of workers who have only known an America of rising inequality and shrinking opportunity. This is especially important for workers of color and for women, who have endured discrimination and systematic exclusion from economic opportunities for generations. All of us deserve to enjoy America’s promise in full — and our nation’s leaders have a responsibility to overcome racial, gender, and other inequalities to make it happen. To that end, the President is calling on Congress to create new, good-quality union jobs for American workers by leveraging their grit and ingenuity to address the climate crisis and build a sustainable infrastructure. Increased unionization can alsoimpact our economic growth overall by improving productivity. President Biden’s plan will:
Empower Workers. President Biden is calling on Congress to update the social contract that provides workers with a fair shot to get ahead, overcome racial and other inequalities that have been barriers for too many Americans, expand the middle class, and strengthen communities. He is calling on Congress to ensure all workers have a free and fair choice to join a union by passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, and guarantee union and bargaining rights for public service workers. His plan also ensures domestic workers receive the legal benefits and protections they deserve and tackles pay inequities based on gender.
Create good jobs. The President’s plan demands that employers benefitting from these investments follow strong labor standards and remain neutral when their employees seek to organize a union and bargain collectively. He is asking Congress to tie federal investments in clean energy and infrastructure to prevailing wages and require transportation investments to meet existing transit labor protections. He also is calling for investments tied to Project Labor, Community Workforce, local hire, and registered apprenticeships and other labor or labor-management training programs so that federal investments support good jobs and pathways to the middle class. Finally, he is asking Congress to include a commitment to increasing American jobs through Buy America and Ship American provisions.
Protect workers. President Biden is calling on Congress to provide the federal government with the tools it needs to ensure employers are providing workers with good jobs – including jobs with fair and equal pay, safe and healthy workplaces, and workplaces free from racial, gender, and other forms of discrimination and harassment. In addition to a $10 billion investment in enforcement as part of the plan’s workforce proposals, the President is calling for increased penalties when employers violate workplace safety and health rules.