TRANSPORTATION EQUITY NETWORK
As joblessness continues to afflict millions of Americans, the national conversation has turned to investments in transportation infrastructure as a path to job creation. Calls to invest in our crumbling highways and bridges and cash-strapped transit systems have come from the AFLCIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce alike. President Obamaʼs American Jobs Act proposes $50 billion in immediate spending on transportation infrastructure, while Congressional Republicans are reportedly seeking ways to boost revenue levels in their proposed federal transportation authorization act.
With major transportation infrastructure investments all but guaranteed as a near-term job creation strategy, the question is whether those hit hardest by the recession —minorities and women— will be lifted up or left behind.
Both groups have traditionally been excluded from the multi-billion-dollar highway construction field. The economic crisis makes that exclusion even more painful: about 26 percent of African-Americans and 22 percent of Hispanics were unemployed or underemployed as of September 2011, versus 15 percent of white workers. And while male unemployment has been ticking downward since June 2009, female unemployment has risen.
The on-the-job training (OJT) and apprenticeship programs administered by state Departments of Transportation are an indispensible first step toward expanding job access for women and minorities in the highway construction field. If transportation investments are to fuel an equitable economic recovery, states must make robust use of these training programs to break down historical barriers and help build careers, lives, and communities.
The Transportation Equity Network (TEN) report The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work presents the first-ever compilation of data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the use of OJT and apprenticeship programs to boost job access for minorities and women in the federal highway construction field.
The study includes data from 2008-10, and features:
- Top 10 rankings in numerous categories
- Full data for all 50 states and DC in appendices and a sortable Excel spreadsheet
- Brief interviews with trainees and public officials on the benefits of OJT and apprenticeships
- An analysis of the role of community organizing in making training programs work
About Transportation Equity Network
“The Transportation Equity Network is a national grassroots organization that fights for transportation equity. We organize to transform federal transportation and mass transit policy and funding to address the needs of the poor, the working class, the middle class, and people of color in regard to jobs, mass transit, and growth that is smart and equitable.”