Good afternoon, Austin friends and allies,
I’m excited to share that I’ve been selected as the 2023 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Workforce Development Council President! I look forward to continuing our longstanding tradition of elevating and advocating for career education and quality jobs in our cities in support of our mayors.
Today’s update is 388 words — a 1.5-minute read.
1 big takeaway from USCM Workforce Development Council meeting
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 will flow once-in-a-generation funding — billions of dollars — to American communities. States’ governments and local leaders will be entrusted with these funds to improve bridges, roads, and airports; address climate needs; and more.
Attention is now turning to those leaders who have the most control in deciding the overall planning, design, and implementation of infrastructure projects. A critical task for policymakers and elected officials is ensuring a ready supply of skilled workers when new infrastructure jobs open up.
❗ Why it matters: If leaders prioritize the need to support and connect local people to local jobs, Austin and other American communities will reap the most return on this incredible infrastructure investment.
Workforce development is “strongly recommended” for 72 of the 400-plus programs of the infrastructure bill, although not required in any.
In other words, just because eligible state and local entities can invest in workforce development does not mean they will.
Thousands of good jobs will open up, and many will require a level of skills training (e.g., more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree, such as an industry-recognized credential). Access to a skilled workforce to build and maintain this new infrastructure will ensure promises are fulfilled.
I propose a proactive question: “How do we start building our talent pool today to have the skilled workers we need tomorrow?”
The answer:I invite leaders to partner with Workforce Solutions Capital Area (WFS) and local workforce development boards to begin planning for worker supply now, not later.
My ask: There is a risk of missed opportunity when workforce training in most infrastructure projects is allowable but not required. So I ask our local leaders — those who care about Austin and want to leave our city better than they found it — to recognize and join WFS to ensure we build equitable career pathways, wealth, and security for Austinites.
Bottom line: Central Texas has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not just build roads but also opportunities for residents. I believe Austin is poised to change the status quo of how we think about infrastructure on behalf of our community. Not only by building modes of transportation, but also by building quality career opportunities for Austinites so they can afford to stay and thrive in this community.
I hope you found this communication helpful. Please reach out with any questions or topics you’d like to discuss.
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