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Source : Federal Highway Administration
May 20, 2021
Author : Alex Bustillos
Training is often the biggest barrier to employment in the industry, and those who enter the program may use it as a bridge to entering the construction workforce.
On Wednesday, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that through the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, USDOT would be expanding construction hiring and workforce development pilot programs.
“As we invest in world-class infrastructure for Americans, we want to make sure that our investments create jobs for people in the communities where the projects are located,” he said. “We’re proud to launch the Department’s local hiring initiative, with an additional focus on workforce development so that good jobs can become meaningful careers.”
The press release notes that both the highway and transit administration programs will give contracting agencies expanded flexibility to use hiring preferences. This is aimed at enhancing “workforce development opportunities for those in economically or socially disadvantaged communities.”
The Highway administration program “will help to rebuild the skilled workforce needed to improve the nation’s transportation ,” USDOT said. The pilot program will last four years and is aimed at enabling state transportation agencies and contractors to “better recruit qualified construction workers.”
“The transportation construction industry needs more trained workers, from a wide array of backgrounds,” Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said. “This program will give new career opportunities to the next generation of highway construction workers.”
“This FTA pilot program will provide flexibility to transit agencies to promote equitable jobs and workforce development, particularly for economically or socially disadvantaged workers,” added Deputy Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez.
The local hire initiatives are being expanded in hopes of increasing participation in existing training and apprenticeship programs. They also hope to use training to increase the skilled workforce on emerging trends in transportation like electric buses and high speed rail.
With negotiations between the White House and Republican leadership in Congress ongoing, with both sides eager to sink billions into infrastructure, these programs can help prepare new hires for future jobs.