Today, President Biden will recognize the commitments made by more than 350 organizations in 50 states and territories as part of the Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge. The Challenge, launched by the Biden-Harris Administration in June, is a nationwide call to action for employers, unions, education and training providers, states, local governments, Tribes, territories, philanthropic organizations, and other stakeholders to make tangible commitments that support equitable workforce development focused on three critical sectors: broadband, construction, and electrification.
Commitments made through the Challenge will expand equitable pathways into good jobs, boost opportunities for union jobs, and meet critical employer skill needs.
Examples of commitments to expand pre-apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship, and other high-quality training programs:
• NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and CWA are partnering to make registered apprenticeship more accessible to NTCA members companies—including by surveying companies on their training needs, co-hosting events on registered apprenticeships for NTCA members, and offering OSHA-10 training to employees of NTCA members.
• Sila Nanotechnologies, Inc. of Alameda, California is forming partnerships with Columbia Basin Technical Skills Center, Big Bend Community College, and other institutions to recruit, train, and develop women and other underrepresented candidates for skilled labor openings in Moses Lake, WA. Sila is providing support for curriculum, internships, and funding; and offering employees tuition and training assistance.
• ChargePoint of Campbell, California and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) are partnering to provide training to NECA members who install EV charging infrastructure.
• The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) and the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA) have entered into a collaborative workforce development agreement to promote registered apprenticeship, develop curriculum, establish industry-recognized credentials and certifications, and articulate career pathways in the broadband industry.
Examples of commitments from community colleges:
• Bunker Hill Community College is expanding its partnerships with companies and unions to respond to training needs in broadband, electrification, transportation, and clean energy.
• Northwood Technical College and NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association are partnering to develop training programs through which students can pursue Northwood’s online academic offerings matched with mentored, on-the-job work experience with hundreds of NTCA rural broadband providers and earn proficiency badges in the process.
• Arizona Western College will expand its registered apprenticeship program to serve up to 200 workers in the broadband installation field.
• Louisiana Community and Technical College System is directing $20 million in funding to establish the Louisiana Infrastructure Skills Academy (LISA).
Examples of commitments to provide wrap-around and supportive services:
• Waste Water Industrial Solutions, a Black woman-owned contractor in Atlanta, Georgia, will explore expanding training opportunities and wrap-around supports for fabrication and construction careers.
• St. Mary Parish Economic Development in Louisiana will partner with community non-profits and employers to help non-traditional students address barriers to training, including a shuttle system to bring students and their children to and from campus, as well as a free child care and tutoring center for children of students.
Examples of commitments to expand or increase recruitment among workers who are traditionally underrepresented in infrastructure sectors:
• Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD) is partnering with the National Urban League to develop pre-apprenticeship programs that will lead 500-1,000 underrepresented individuals into registered apprenticeships in energy. This collaboration is supported by the IBEW.
• KORE Power, Inc., a battery cell technology developer, is building a large manufacturing facility in Arizona and will prioritize hiring from the local Native American workforce; partner with local colleges; provide stipends to workers; and invest in community outreach, scholarships, internships, education activities, workforce coaching and mentoring, and program evaluation.
• Kiewit Corporation, an employee-owned construction company, will expand and better publicize its workforce opportunities, including its Kiewit Scholars program, its partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and its local partnerships with training and apprenticeship programs.
Examples of state and local government commitments to invest resources and take policy action:
• The Maine Department of Labor is partnering with unions, educational institutions, and contractors using American Rescue Plan funds to develop new apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship initiatives to serve nearly 3,000 participants from underserved communities and local high schools.
• Salt Lake County is planning to create a pre-apprenticeship program in partnership with local unions and colleges to recruit, train, and provide wrap-around services for lower-income individuals for construction and building trades jobs with support from American Rescue Plan funds.
Examples of aligned funding commitments from the philanthropic sector:
• The Families and Workers Fund, the What Works Plus Collaborative, and America Achieves are coordinating philanthropic partners on $50 million in new funding commitments aligned with the Talent Pipeline Challenge in 2022, with a focus on community-rooted, scalable models. For example:
o The Families and Workers Fund will invest $1.6 million in Better Builder® in Texas to accelerate the creation of quality, mobility-boosting jobs with a focus on immigrant workers earning low wages in the construction industry. This effort will support up to 10,000 workers who will participate in constructing a multi-billion-dollar BIL-funded project.
o The James Irvine Foundation supported creation of the High Road Training Fund, a public-private partnership with the California Workforce Development Board that supports equity, job quality, and climate resilience by augmenting public workforce development funds and supporting community-based organizations. The Fund will test and expand promising models like the High Road Construction Careers program, which partners with the building trades unions and community-rooted organizations like the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.
o The Lumina Foundation is investing $400,000 in Virginia’s Infrastructure Academy, a public-private partnership led by Virginia community colleges which will help 35,000 Virginians—particularly from communities of color—gain skills and credentials in the transportation, wind and solar, and broadband industries.
o The Robin Hood Foundation is supporting Nontraditional Employment for Women to provide training and supportive services—including access to quality, flexible childcare—to prepare women in New York for family-sustaining jobs in construction and green infrastructure.
• America Achieves, the Families and Workers Fund, and the What Works Plus Collaborative will help mobilize $20 million in philanthropic funding for workforce development and equitable access to quality infrastructure jobs. This includes a philanthropic registry and matchmaking service led by America Achieves and the What Works Plus Collaborative for promising local initiatives that have applied for—but may not have received—federal funds for all or critical parts of their proposals, as well as a pooled fund portfolio by the Families and Workers Fund.