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A good jobs and equity policy

The U.S. Employment Plan (USEP) is our customizable, federally-approved policy tool that builds good jobs and equity into the public purchasing process

The USEP is proven to: 

  • Incentivize manufacturers bidding for public contracts to commit to creating good jobs
  • Invest in new manufacturing facilities in our communities
  • Generate career pathways for people traditionally left out of the manufacturing sector, including women, people of color, veterans, and formerly incarcerated folks.

How does it work?

Cities, states, and public agencies can incorporate the USEP into their bidding process to adjust what kind of information is required for a company to submit a bid for a public contract. Rather than just submitting information about traditional factors like technical specifications and price, the USEP requires the companies competing for public contracts to disclose the number, type, and location of jobs the contract will create and retain, as well as salaries, benefits, training programs, and their plan to recruit and train historically marginalized workers.

The USEP includes policy language for three parts of the purchasing process: 

  • Proposal tool: language that can give transportation equipment manufacturers the opportunity to earn extra credit in the bidding process by proposing the creation and/or retention of a proposed number and quality of U.S. jobs supported in connection to a contract, facilities, and commitments to hiring workers facing multiple and significant barriers through recruiting and training efforts.
  • Evaluation tool: provides a system of voluntary price credits and/or a scoring method to help public agencies to evaluate the quality of proposals submitted in response to a request for procurements.
  • Compliance & implementation tool: contract and enforcement language that ensures transparency and accountability for U.S. jobs, hiring and training commitments on a contract.

To date, the USEP has been used by cities and states across the country on billions of dollars of infrastructure projects from the Northeast Corridor to Chicago and Los Angeles. Thanks to the USEP, that spending created thousands of direct jobs and has supported the creation of tens of thousands of additional indirect jobs.

Success stories

Los Angeles                                   

LA Metro has used the USEP eight times – leading to the creation of more than 550 direct jobs and thousands of additional jobs throughout the supply chain. In 2011, LA Metro became the first transit agency in the country to use the USEP for the purchase of new rail cars, on a bid that resulted in (1) the award of an $890 million contract to Kinkisharyo International for light rail vehicles; (2) a new factory in Los Angeles County; and (3) the creation of 404 high quality jobs in the county. In 2013, LA Metro again used the USEP to purchase 550 buses, awarding a $305 million contract to New Flyer Industries. In 2018, LA Metro committed to implementing its own Manufacturing Careers Policy, which would apply the USEP to all future railcar, bus, and manufactured equipment purchases above $100 million. The policy is estimated to support up to 22,000 U.S. jobs as LA Metro replaces its entire fleet.


The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) used the USEP in 2014 to purchase new rail cars. In 2016, it awarded a $1.3 billion contract to rail manufacturer CRRC. The company ultimately built a new manufacturing facility in the Southeast side of Chicago, which created over 200 jobs during construction and will create at least 170 good manufacturing jobs during production. CRRC’s new factory marks the first time CTA’s rail cars have been produced in Chicago since 1964. CRRC also signed a landmark community benefits agreement to recruit, train, and hire low-income workers, people of color, women, returning citizens, and veterans and to invest in the development of a pre-apprenticeship and workforce training program.


In 2014, Amtrak used the USEP in its purchase of $2 billion worth of new high-speed trains for its Northeast Corridor Acela line. Alstom Transport, a manufacturer headquartered in France, won the contract and committed to creating 400 jobs in upstate New York to build Amtrak’s new rail cars. The trains will be manufactured at Alstom’s Hornell and Rochester facilities in New York. Parts for the new train sets will come from more than 350 suppliers in more than 30 states, generating an additional 1,000 jobs nationwide. More than 95 percent of the train set components will be manufactured in the U.S.

History of the USEP

During the year-long process of developing the USEP in 2012 and 2013, U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari appointed an internal DOT task force to review and approve the USEP model documents as compliant with Federal Procurement law and regulations. Between 2012 and 2014, the policy was approved by the DOT for use with federal funds by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and Amtrak.

In February 2016, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony 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.

A UCLA law school study from 2016 showed that the use of the USEP did not have a significant impact on price or the number of bidders and was therefore found to be consistent with the federal laws and regulations that require all procurements involving federal funds be conducted in a way that maximizes full and open competition.

Sample U.S. Employment Plan Language

U.S. Employment Plan Language Adopted by Transportation Agencies

Amtrak Acela:

Chicago Transit Authority:

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority:

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority:

Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority:

MTA New York City Transit:

The U.S. Employment Plan (USEP) was developed by a team of experts from Jobs to Move America, the Brookings Institution, the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, with funding from the Surdna Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Living Cities.

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