Building America While Building Our Middle Class

The Partnership for Working Families

Policymakers have long understood the job creation opportunities that public infrastructure projects provide. To enhance these jobs’ economic and social impact and lift families out of poverty, many cities and states have incorporated job quality and equity policies into public infrastructure projects. Such policies ensure that these projects don’t simply create jobs, but instead provide good jobs in the local communities that need them. These projects can create quality jobs that provide valuable pathways out of poverty and into a sustained career, while building much-needed infrastructure.

Some cash-strapped municipalities have turned to public-private partnerships (P3s), which use private capital to finance public infrastructure projects, as a strategy for accomplishing infrastructure renewal and development. The P3 approach demands the same focus on jobs that traditional infrastructure projects have, and the successful strategies used for traditional projects may be used on P3 projects with little or no modification.

When governments across the country implement important job quality and job access policies into public works projects, they see a positive impact on their communities. Prevailing wage standards, targeted hire programs, apprenticeship utilization requirements, and other policies have been proven to help those most often left out of our economy obtain quality jobs building, maintaining, and operating critical public infrastructure. This report shares case studies from projects across the country that successfully utilized these types of policies and programs.