How to Boost the Economy: Create Good Jobs for Low-Income Workers in the Construction Industry

July 10, 2013 -- Partnership for Working Families
Report cover of the Construction Careers Handbook

Construction is picking back up again, and with it, the chance to create real career opportunities for low-income people. Community and union leaders in cities across the country have united behind strategies that boost publicly-funded construction, creating more paid training slots and opening doors to new job seekers. Public investments in construction should benefit all communities, and construction career approaches ensure low-income job seekers get an edge on new opportunities on public projects. 

The Partnership for Working Families’ newly-released Construction Careers Handbook is a guide on how to create these programs that place low-income job seekers into the best kind of construction training and help them graduate to full-time construction careers.

Trained Workers Benefit the Construction Industry

San Diego-based electrical contractor Andre Johnson is one worker who has benefited from this type of program. Having begun his career in a union apprenticeship, he now employs local electricians and apprentices, and provides health care and retirement benefits, proving that a small business can provide family sustaining careers and succeed. “It is important to employ apprentices and make sure they are mentored and supported and learn all the aspects of the trade, so they can take their careers in whatever direction they want to go,” says Johnson.

Pathways to the Middle Class for Women and Workers of Color

These programs increase access to construction careers for low-income workers, women, veterans, and workers of color, strengthening low-income communities and communities of color.  Construction Careers programs represent an opportunity for workers who too often hold low-wage and temporary jobs to find family-supporting, long-term jobs. 

It’s Our Money: Public Funds Should Be Spent on Quality Jobs 

Our Construction Careers model implements strong job quality standards – like training and safety requirements, wage and benefits standards, and responsible contractor provisions – to ensure that public money is spent to create a high quality construction industry. 

Be sure to check out the Construction Careers Handbook today. 

Leaders in dozens of cities across the country have pioneered this approach. They have made real gains for low-income communities and you can, too. The Construction Careers Handbook will guide you through the process and everything you need to know to craft a compelling and successful program.

If you have any questions about this publication or would like to request hard copies please contact