Jobs to Move America
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Transportation is essential to every American’s life. Each day, millions of Americans rely on it to participate in society. For years, inequitable transportation infrastructure has separated communities along racial and economic lines. Transportation investment has historically resulted in few good manufacturing jobs for low-income communities, preventing them from accessing key economic opportunities.

In an extraordinary move this month, US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx began a national dialogue focused on the USDOT’s Ladders of Opportunity initiatives aimed at making our infrastructure more inclusive. The initiative empowers government officials and communities to “revitalize, connect, and create workforce opportunities that move more people into the middle class.”

Jobs to Move America (JMA) applauds Secretary Foxx on this timely initiative to improve the economic opportunities of communities historically unable to improve their livelihoods due to among other things, lack of transportation options in their neighborhoods. Since its inception in 2013, JMA has pushed for expanding opportunities for people historically excluded from manufacturing in the transportation industry.

JMA is doing this by using the U.S. Employment Plan (USEP), a toolbox of policy resources transit agencies can include as part of their Request for Proposals to encourage bus and rail manufacturers to include the number of U.S. jobs they will create. Last month, Secretary Foxx sent a letter to transportation stakeholders that recognized the USEP as an innovative approach to using public transportation funds to create good jobs in the United States.

To date, the U.S. Department of Transportation has approved requests by five large transit agencies using USEP: LA Metro, Chicago Transit Authority, Amtrak, Maryland Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Council of Minneapolis, St Paul.

In the latest success, the Chicago Transit Authority awarded a $1.3 billion contract to CSR America Incorporated, a company that adopted the USEP and committed to creating 169 jobs in Chicago’s South Side, as well as building a brand-new rail car assembly facility, the first of its kind in over three decades. The USEP has resulted in the building of new factories and job creation in several other neighborhoods across the country.

A study by University of Massachusetts Amherst economists entitled Strengthening U.S. Manufacturing Through Public Procurement Policies” supports this. The study recommends that transit agencies adopt innovative language in their contracts with bus and rail car manufacturers, such as the U.S. Employment Plan, to ensure that bidding on significant transit contracts creates more US jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities and hires a diverse workforce.

“JMA commends the Department of Transportation and the President for their leadership and commitment to creating a pathway that leads to better jobs and economic opportunities for underserved communities. The choices we make today affect future generations. Let’s work together to create a stronger, more connected community,” said JMA spokesperson Alaa Milbes.

Associated Resources

Primer: Green Industrial Strategy for Just Transitions

The Climate + Community Project’s report mentions JMA’s U.S. Employment Plan as model legislation to leverage government purchasing power to support the development of a high-road electric vehicle manufacturing industry.

Resource Types:
  • Reports & Policy Briefs

Local Opportunities Coalition comment in response to Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Information

The Local Opportunities Coalition and supporting partners wrote a comment in response to the Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Information on how the Uniform Guidance can be updated or revised to give state and local recipients of federal financial assistance more tools to create good jobs and promote greater racial and gender equity …

Resource Types:
  • Good Jobs Policies
  • Policy + Programs

Local and Economically-Targeted Hire Brochure

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will bring $1.2 trillion to states and cities over the next 5 years for new and existing infrastructure–a once in a generation opportunity. For the first time, local and economically targeted hire on transportation projects is allowed without prior approval. This printable brochure details how communities can take advantage …

Fact Sheet: Empowering Cities and States: Making Federal Funds Work for Our Communities

Currently, a set of decades-old federal rules (known as the Uniform Guidance) impede cities and states from using innovative programs in the procurement process that can amplify the benefit of federal funds for communities. The procurement process can be a powerful tool to address historic inequities and uplift millions of struggling people—particularly people of color—but …