by Laura Walling, Senior Director of Government Relations, Goodwill Industries International
Following the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, the Biden Administration has turned to other economic recovery measures with the unveiling of the American Jobs Plan. While a long way from actually becoming law, the $2.25 trillion proposal focuses on transportation, caregiving, manufacturing, housing, schools, water, broadband, and the power grid. A second package, planned for release in the coming weeks, could top $1 trillion and expand social policies.
Goodwill® appreciates the recognition that there is a greater need for skills development opportunities as individuals rejoin the workforce or seek new opportunities. As such, the plan would provide $100 billion for workforce development programs, including:
- $48 billion for workforce development infrastructure and worker protection, including registered apprenticeships for underserved populations; expanding career pathway programming; increasing wrap around services for jobseekers; expanding subsidized employment; broadening community college training grants; and investing in adult education
- $40 billion for a new program to provide services for workers involuntarily unemployed and for training in high-demand sectors such as clean energy, manufacturing, and caregiving
- $12 billion for job training for women, people of color, people with disabilities, and second chance individuals.
Beyond the critical workforce development investments, the plan includes $621 billion in infrastructure spending dedicated to rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, and rail systems; $300 billion to bolster manufacturing, $213 billion for affordable housing, and a collective $380 billion for research and development, modernizing America’s electricity grid, and installing high-speed broadband around the country. The plan also includes $400 billion for home- and community-based health and elder care. Components throughout the pan make equity a priority by focusing on communities that not only have been most impacted by the pandemic, but have historically been excluded from infrastructure jobs, including women and people of color.
Goodwill Industries International stands ready to support the Administration in their endeavors to create jobs and strengthen apprenticeships as the nation begins to recover from the pandemic and we applaud the strong investments proposed in workforce development. It remains to be seen how Congress will take up these proposals – if there will be multiple bills and if they will be bipartisan or have to use a reconciliation measure. Speaker Pelosi has set an ambitious goal of passing something by the July 4th recess. Stay tuned for additional updates and ways in which you can advocate on behalf of Goodwill and the people we serve as Congress considers these proposals in the months ahead.