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The opportunity afforded by infrastructure investments to connect workers with good paying, attainable careers If enacted, the leading federal infrastructure proposal affords a generational opportunity to tackle several pressing challenges. On the one hand, these investments will help to address long neglected physical infrastructure deficiencies and catalyze a move towards a cleaner energy future. At the same time, a major boost in infrastructure spending can create millions of good jobs that are attainable for workers without four-year degrees, a population that has benefited from a smaller and smaller share of the nation’s good jobs over decades and that has experienced the slowest recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession. But to realize the former goal—the physical aims of infrastructure investments—policymakers will need to be intentional about the latter—building inclusive, skilled infrastructure workforces. At least one estimate forecasts that the leading infrastructure package would create around 1 million jobs, while others predict several million over a decade. This would be on top of what is already a sizable component of the workforce: in 2020, infrastructure employed roughly one in nine American workers. Most infrastructure jobs today and those of the near future can be accessed without a bachelor’s degree, and these jobs offer higher wages than most other jobs attainable with that level of formal education. But the benefits of these good jobs have not been equally accessible. Much like the infrastructure workforce of decades ago, today’s infrastructure workforce skews heavily white, older, and male. On top of limited paths to entry, women and non-white people within the infrastructure workforce earn lower wages due to wage gaps within occupations and occupational segregation. To broaden opportunity to benefit from good quality, in-demand infrastructure jobs and mobility opportunities within the sector, policymakers at all levels will need to take deliberate, multifaceted action. The role of states in building an inclusive infrastructure workforce States can play a pivotal role in fostering an inclusive, skilled infrastructure workforce. Not only will a significant portion of federal infrastructure spending likely flow through states, but state governments and local governments together typically spend the majority of public investment in infrastructure and own the majority of public infrastructure assets. States also have substantial stimulus funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and some existing flexible workforce funding (e.g. WIOA Governor’s Reserve Funds) that can be used to complement the infusion of federal infrastructure dollars. And at the most fundamental level, states have a role in shaping the workforce and education system to support the workforce needs of growing economic sectors and equipping residents with opportunities to connect to good quality employment. This brief presents a framework for states towards this aim. It first provides key context on the infrastructure workforce, including demographic and wage disparities that underscore the need for states to foster inclusive pathways to good infrastructure jobs. The remainder focuses on a three-pronged framework to help state policymakers consider multifaceted, complementary approaches, centering on the following strategies: 1. Broaden exposure and recruitment. 2. Grow a supply of effective infrastructure-related training programs and improve success in those programs by bolstering key supports. 3. Spur inclusive hiring practices and combat the prevalence of harassment and discrimination in major infrastructure sectors. 1. This report focuses on physical infrastructure broadly to include sectors such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, water, green infrastructure and climate resiliency, as well as public works. 2. Heather Long, “Many left behind in this recovery have something in common: >No college degree,” Washington Post, April 22, 2021. 3. Anthony Carnevale, quoted in Nancy Marshall-Genzer, “What kind of jobs could the infrastructure bill lead to?” Marketplace, August 2, 2021. 4. Anthony P. Carnevale and Nicole Smith, “15 Million Infrastructure Jobs: An Economic Shot in the Arm to the COVID-19 Recession,” Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 2021. 5. Joseph Kane, “Biden needs to create an infrastructure talent pipeline, not just more jobs,” Brookings Institution, January 29, 2021. 6. Ibid. 7. Caroline George and Joseph W. Kane, “Reversing America’s poor track record on inclusivity in infrastructure jobs,” Brookings Institution, May 17, 2021. 8. Mark Wolf, “Infrastructure Bill Update: What Could It Mean for States?” National Conference of State Legislatures, August 3, 2021. 9. See Elizabeth McNichol “It’s Time for States to Invest in Infrastructure,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 19, 2019, for an overview of how federal grants fit into state infrastructure spending. See Peter G. Peterson Foundation, “State and Local Infrastructure Spending: A Closer Look,” June 17, 2020, for how state and local spending compare to federal spending on infrastructure.
The Rework America Alliance, a Markle initiative, studied the job histories of 29 million people across more than 800 occupations to look at how to realize the potential of the more than 5.8M workers from low-wage roles currently unemployed and without a college degree. From this, the Alliance has identified actionable steps that can be taken to help these workers to return to work in better roles. These findings are detailed in “Unlocking Experience-Based Job Progressions for Millions of Workers” authored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Markle, McKinsey & Company, and the National Urban League with input from many of our partners in the Rework America Alliance. Get the topline takeaways Download the full publication Two new tools have also been developed so we can take action based on these insights: A new Job Progressions tool developed by McKinsey & Company to help career coaches use historical job progression data to connect job seekers to good jobs, aligned with their experience. A new Rework Community Insights Monitor from The Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to provide a metro-level view for policymakers and workforce development leaders. Learn more about the work of the Rework America Alliance.
New York, NY – The Markle Foundation’s Rework America Alliance a unique coalition of civil rights groups, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor unions and educators, today announced the first regions in which it will partner with local community-based organizations to deploy resources to help job seekers connect to good jobs. The Alliance is opening opportunities for millions of unemployed and low wage workers to move into good jobs, particularly for people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current economic crisis, and those who have built capabilities through experience but do not have a bachelor’s degree. The initial regions and organizations that will lead efforts locally are: Atlanta, Georgia - Goodwill of North Georgia Austin, Texas - Austin Area Urban League Denver, Colorado - Mi Casa Resource Center, a UnidosUS affiliate Finger Lakes region, New York - PathStone, in partnership with Rural LISC Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota - Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota and Urban League Twin Cities Indiana and Colorado - Markle will expand its relationships with the states of Colorado and Indiana by providing the full suite of Alliance capabilities and partners, building on previous successful collaborations in both states through its Skillful initiatives In these regions, the Alliance will work closely with community-based organizations that serve workers so they can help job seekers: identify the good jobs that are in-demand, transfer the skills they already have to new jobs and find effective, affordable training, if needed, for those jobs. The Alliance is also working to secure commitments from employers to hire talented workers with nontraditional education and experience. Training and resources will be provided to employers to drive the adoption of inclusive, sourcing and talent management practices that focus on skills rather than degrees and remove bias in hiring. This initial deployment will be scaled nationally by worker-serving partners through their extensive national networks in communities throughout the country. This work will draw on the knowledge and resources of more than 30 organizations, bringing additional data, networks, commitments, tools, and technical support from this wider group of Alliance partners. These partners include: Markle Foundation, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, National Urban League and McKinsey & Company, with AFL-CIO, CVS Health, Goodwill Industries International, Google, IBM, Microsoft, North America’s Building Trades Unions, Rural LISC, UnidosUS, Workday, Zurich North America and other leading businesses, training, and workforce organizations. “Working with local organizations is key to connecting people to good jobs,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President, Markle Foundation. “They understand the needs of their communities and have established trusted relationships within those communities that allow them to deliver support and guidance to those who need it most. They also have connections with employers, local government and other nonprofits, to help drive change across the labor market, with the backing of national bodies that can share this work more broadly in the future.” “As we begin the work of rebuilding a post-pandemic economy that is diverse, equitable and inclusive, coalitions like the Rework America Alliance are essential," said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League. "By creating economic opportunity in the communities hardest-hit by the pandemic, we enhance the resiliency of the nation as a whole.” “These community partners bring exemplary leadership and innovative ideas to the Alliance. The Atlanta Fed is excited to contribute to finding real-world solutions to current labor market challenges,” said Stuart Andreason, Assistant Vice President and Director of the Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. “Though economic conditions are improving, we still see a ‘less-than’ recovery where many lower-wage workers and workers of color remain distressed. Efforts like the Rework America Alliance and the dedication of local organizations, like our hometown partners, can help make this a truly equitable recovery.” The selection process for identifying this initial set of regions and partners considered several factors including the underlying economic landscape in these locations, and the organization’s commitment to creating a model to allow them to scale this work across their organizations nationally. The regions and partners selected reflect the first phase of deployment, with additional locations to be announced later in the year. To see the full list of Alliance partners, please visit markle.org/alliance. About the Markle Foundation The Markle Foundation challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions to critical public problems and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives include the Rework America Alliance, which draws on Markle's Skillful and Rework America initiatives. They follow Markle’s success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet. For more information, visit markle.org, follow @MarkleFdn and @ReworkAmerica on Twitter, and read our book, America's Moment. Note to the Editor For media inquiries, please contact Carrie Gonzalez at [email protected] or 917-705-6531 For more information about the regional organizations named in today’s announcement, please visit markle.org/rework-america-alliance-local-partnerships
Local regions and organizations partnering with the Rework America Alliance The Markle Foundation’s Rework America Alliance, a unique coalition of civil rights groups, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor unions and educators, will partner with local community-based organizations to deploy resources to help job seekers connect to good jobs. The initial regions and organizations that will lead efforts locally are: Mi Casa Resource Center educates, trains and supports youth and adults along career and business pathways to grow their income and achieve lasting economic success. Focused on supporting income growth and employment — self-employment, formal employment, and everything in between — Mi Casa Resource Center provides training and tailored support to help people take the next step on the journey toward financial success. When all families succeed, the entire community thrives. Learn more at micasaresourcecenter.org Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides job training and career navigation services to eliminate barriers to work and independence. Revenue from nearly 50 retail stores ― along with grants and financial contributions ― supports Minnesotans with digital literacy skills, resume development, understanding government benefits and more. Shopping and donating helps divert over 65 million pounds from landfills annually and has helped us connect people to jobs since 1919. Learn more at www.goodwilleasterseals.org The Austin Area Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to providing economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for African Americans and other underserved/underrepresented populations in in the Austin/ Central Texas region. Since 1977, the Austin Area Urban League has enriched the lives of citizens within the greater Central Texas Region. The Austin Area Urban League is one of more than 90 affiliates of the National Urban League providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of thousands in the Central Texas region. Aligning with the Empowerment pillars of the National Urban League, the Austin Area Urban League seeks to meet the needs of underserved populations in the Austin/Central Texas region by focusing on programming and Services in the areas of Education and Youth Development, Workforce and Career Readiness, Health, Housing, Justice and Advocacy. Learn more at aaul.org Urban League Twin Cities For more than 90 years, Minnesotans have looked to the Urban League as a source of strength in the community. From employment to education to engagement, the Urban League seeks to help African descendants strive for and achieve economic empowerment and self-sufficiency to build wealth that can be passed down from generation to generation. We envision a future in which African descendants can be fully engaged, empowered and invested in the success and well-being of the Twin Cities metro area. The Urban League understands that the cultural heritage and assets of people of African descent are a rich resource of creativity, power and beauty. We believe that a strong and systemic change is needed to transform our communities. The Urban League plays a vital role as advocate and thought leader for issues affecting African descendants in the Twin Cities. Learn more at ultcmn.org PathStone begun in 1969, is a private, not-for-profit community development and human service organization serving Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Vermont. PathStone builds family and individual self-sufficiency by strengthening farmworker, rural and urban communities through community development programs and advocacy. It delivers quality career and employment services that enhance the skills, performance and potential of individuals. It provides a range of education and health services designed to promote and enhance lifelong learning, healthy living and employability. And it promotes access to personal counseling and financial resources designed to stabilize living environments and provide the foundation for economic security. PathStone believes that a combination of planning, vision, multi-sector stakeholder input, strategically targeted public and private resources and persistence must all be combined if success is to be realized. The organization has recently adopted environmental standards for all of its programs. Learn more at pathstone.org Goodwill of North Georgia’s mission is to put people to work. The nonprofit has provided services in the region for more than 90 years. In fiscal year 2020, Goodwill of North Georgia provided job training and employment services to 46,697 people and helped 25,019 people find jobs or start new businesses. The organization currently operates 67 stores, 53 attended donation centers and 13 career centers. Revenues generated from Goodwill’s retail program help fund job training and placement programs. Learn more at goodwillng.org
Indianapolis, IN– TodaySkillful, a Markle Foundation initiative, announced thefirst of a new suite of training and resources for career coaches to help connect job seekers to good, in-demand job opportunities.Developed with support fromStrada Education Network, Ivy TechCommunity College, and the state of Indiana, as well as with additional support from Cognizant U.S. Foundation and Microsoft Corp., the new tools will help job seekers in the state and beyond. Skillful is part of Markle’sRework America Alliance, working with employers, educators, nonprofits, workforce leaders and others in Indiana to help people get good jobs based on the skills they have or the skills they can learn. The Alliance,a national collaboration ofcivil rights organizations, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor organizations and educators,is opening opportunities for millions of unemployed and low wage workers to move into good jobs, particularly people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current economic crisis.Skillful is contributing resources to the Alliance as it aims to help unemployed people across the country return to the workforce in better jobs with greater career potential. The new virtual, skills-based training program for career coaches is the first in a suite of training and resources developed to improve the support job seekers can receive from career coaches. This includes access to improved job data insights and tools for clearly articulating capabilities and transferable skills to employers.Career coaches provide a crucial source ofsupport and guidance for job seekers at workforce centers, nonprofit community organizations, and community and training colleges. This training will be provided in Indiana by Ivy Tech Community College and rolled out by the Rework America Alliance to other community-based organizations nationwide to help career coaches more effectively and efficiently serve job seekers at this time of critical need - with further trainings to be added as developed throughout the year. “We are thankful to have truly outstanding and forward-thinking partners here in Indiana, including the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, Strada and Ivy Tech, that have helped us to create an exceptional program of career coach training in the state,” said William D. Turner, Jr. Executive Director, Skillful Indiana and National Alliance Delivery. “With these new remotely-accessible training modules, we are now better able to support those helping job seekers within our state, and to take this Indiana innovation to other regions.” “This is transformative work that will help Hoosiers better navigate their career options as the economy changes through and beyond the recovery from the pandemic. Our partnership with Skillful establishes Indiana as a leader in workforce development and training of career coaches,”said PJ McGrew, Executive Director of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet. “The state’s network of career coaches are an exceptional resource for job seekers in Indiana and the ability to connect them with additional training and resources is essential to helping Hoosiers navigate their career options.” By identifying career coaching as an essential step to economic recovery, and investing in this area, Skillful, Strada, the state of Indiana, and Ivy Tech Community College - together with the Rework America Alliance - are leading the way for the rest of the nation. TheRework America Alliance,which also contributed to the development of the new training course, will make these resources available to career coaches in worker-serving organizations throughout the country. “A career coach can be the catalyst in helping a job seeker discover their potential and help them attain employment that matches their skills and interests to create a livelihood with opportunities for upward mobility,” saidCaroline Dowd-Higgins, Vice President of Career Coaching and Employer Connections, Ivy Tech Community College. “By providing coaches with access to data insights on in-demand jobs locally, and equipping them with effective skills, we are enabling more job seekers to successfully move into careers that will empower them to thrive.” Organizations that employ career coaches and are interested in accessing this training and other resources, [email protected] more information. For media inquiries, please contact Carrie Gonzalez [email protected] 917-705-6531 ### About Skillful Skillfulisa nonprofit initiative of the Markle Foundation and partof Markle’s Rework America Alliance working with employers, educators, nonprofits, workforce leaders and others to help people get good jobs based on the skills they have or the skills they can learn.TheRework America Alliance,a national collaboration ofcivil rights organizations, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor organizations and educators, isopening opportunities for millions of unemployed and low wage workers to move into good jobs, particularly people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current economic crisis.Skillful is contributing resources to the Alliance as it aims to help unemployed people across the country return to the workforce in better jobs with greater career potential. TheMarkle Foundationchallenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions to critical public problems and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. For more information, visit www.markle.org.
Policymakers across the political spectrum are calling for federal investment to modernize and repair the nation’s roads, bridges, and pipes, while recognizing the strong potential to create infrastructure jobs in the process.(1) Indeed, making a strong investment in the nation’s infrastructure is regularly cited as one of the areas with the most potential for bipartisan collaboration. Regardless of the direction that a major infrastructure package takes, there is a need to make complementary investments in our workforce, education, and training systems to ensure we build a pipeline of skilled workers and to correct the existing disparities in access to well-paying infrastructure jobs. The Challenges As policymakers consider investments in infrastructure with the intent to create good jobs, we must also consider inextricably linked workforce and training challenges: IInfrastructure investments will spur job creation, but not necessarily training creation. With targeted investments, we can incentivize the creation of an adequate supply of effective, accessible training programs. Millions of additional infrastructure jobs would mean millions of good quality jobs with relatively short education requirements. But the current system does not have adequate support or incentives for education providers and employers to create a sufficient supply of trainings to meet the skills needs of several million additional infrastructure jobs. Leading infrastructure proposals would create or save about 15 million infrastructure jobs over ten years, including 8 million jobs for workers with a high school diploma or less and about 5 million for people with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. Most infrastructure jobs would, however, require some degree of specialized training, particularly given the accelerating pace of technology and automation across relevant industries, like manufacturing and construction. Without attention to the workforce and training needs, many sectors—from the transportation, to construction, to energy—are likely to find an inadequate pipeline of effective training programs and with that, a shortage of qualified workers. With deliberate reforms to the infrastructure careers pipeline, we can create millions of new jobs, while not replicating long-standing inequities in access to good quality infrastructure careers. Large disparities in the pipeline to infrastructure jobs means disparities in access to jobs that offer higher wages than most other jobs for people with less formal education than a bachelor’s degree. At both the 10th and 25th percentiles of wages, infrastructure workers see a wage premium of more than $3 per hour when compared with workers across all occupations. Infrastructure occupations have long had glaring, persistent demographic gaps. A significantly disproportionate share of infrastructure workers are white and older than age 45. More than eight in ten infrastructure workers in 2019 were male. Apprenticeship has great potential to help expand infrastructure pipelines. There is a need to scale both on-ramp programs to apprenticeship and supports that dramatically increase success in apprenticeship. Registered Apprenticeship (RA) is a widely recognized, proven strategy to build a pipeline of skilled workers and connect jobseekers, particularly those with less than a bachelor’s degree, to higher paying jobs. These programs also tend to lead to bigger wage gains over the course of a career, as compared to very short-term training programs. But access to RA is constrained, in part because too many people lack support opportunities to prepare for and successfully apply for spots as apprentices. Pre-apprenticeship programs (also known as apprenticeship-readiness programs) have been recognized as a strategy to expand the pathways to succeed in apprenticeships, particularly for severely underrepresented groups in the apprenticeship system—namely, women and people of color. We should view pre-apprenticeship programs as critical to expanding the pipeline for underrepresented groups to ultimately enjoy the wage gains and career mobility that apprenticeships connected to infrastructure jobs would offer. Critically, funding for pre-apprenticeship programs is limited, due to little funding for the programs and the fact that such programs are not eligible for Pell grants. There is also the reality that even where a pre-apprenticeship program is free, the opportunity cost to participating can be a barrier for low-income workers that are household breadwinners. Apprentices earn a paycheck while training, but affordability challenges still exist, particularly childcare and reliable transportation. This disproportionately limits success in apprenticeship for women and low-income people. Our workforce system struggles to ensure workers can navigate career and training options. Addressing the navigation challenge is critical to widening the pipeline to good infrastructure jobs. While advancements have been made at the federal and state levels, workers and career counselors are largely unable to access vital information that would help them to identify trainings with strong labor market results and that meet a jobseekers’ goals. And in terms of direct career counseling, the federal investment in the public workforce system provides resources to serve just a small fraction of those who could benefit from career advice. Top Priorities for Building the Infrastructure Workforce With the aim of building a widely shared recovery, the Markle Foundation has identified three top objectives for reforming the education and training system that should be considered critical complements to any major infrastructure investment. Build a sufficient supply of high-quality training programs that succeed in preparing workers for infrastructure careers. Federal policy should incentivize the creation of effective training opportunities to build the pipeline of skilled workers for good quality infrastructure jobs. To do this, we should support collaboration between employers, labor and community partners to create and provide high quality trainings as well as important pathways to those trainings, including pre-apprenticeships and bridge programs offered by worker-serving organizations. Infrastructure investments will create some short and long-term projects, but we should prioritize training programs that set people up for long-term attachment to a dynamic sector. This means developing skillsets that are foundational as well as driven by demand for skills in an occupation across a sector, not just for one project. Priority strategies to accomplish this include: Provide funding to intermediary organizations to scale sector and regional collaboration in the creation of employer-connected training opportunities. Such intermediaries could include labor-management partnerships, community-based organizations, unions, and workforce boards. These intermediaries would receive funding from states or from national grants to work with employers in an infrastructure sector (e.g. energy, transportation or telecommunications) in a region and training providers to create effective training programs. This strategy is also useful towards scaling the availability of Registered Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships. o Supporting these collaborations is simultaneously a strategy to scale work by intermediary organizations (community-based organizations, labor-management partnerships, and workforce boards) that work in a sector or region to improve the quality of existing jobs and expand the adoption of practices that reduce bias in hiring. Support employers and unions in providing training opportunities to new and incumbent workers when that training is connected to good quality jobs. Help businesses and union training programs with the costs of developing training programs and paying workers while participating in trainings, when that training is connected to good quality jobs and is substantial. Additionally, we should explore programs that help offset the costs for small and medium-sized businesses of working with third-party organizations to design and deliver training. We could also support the availability of training that small and medium-sized employers create and deliver to their employees. Goal 2: Ensure access to skills development opportunities by addressing affordability and other common barriers to completing training programs. We need to make sure that the populations hit hardest by wage stagnation and displacement have the financial means to participate in effective trainings that lead to infrastructure careers. Priority strategies towards accomplishing this include: Provide funding support to cover tuition and other common barriers to completing training programs: A new dedicated funding system should be developed to guarantee that all low-wage and unemployed workers can pay for effective education and training programs. This funding should have greater generosity than is currently available through Pell or funding in the public workforce system for training. This would essentially be a training account given to all unemployed and low-wage workers for any program that gets people good jobs at family supporting wages. This funding should have flexibility built in: o Programs should be able to cover pre-apprenticeship and effective trainings run by community-based organizations and unions,, in addition to effective training programs offered through traditional education providers. o Funding should be allowed to cover non-tuition costs: While tuition costs often account for the largest expense of taking a training, the cost of supportive services that are essential to participate and complete a program – such as transportation and childcare – are too often insurmountable barriers for low-income people. There is also the reality that many adult learners are household breadwinners and cannot afford to reduce work hours, reducing their household’s income. This funding should have accountability measures built in: o Large funding amounts should only be available for programs that can show positive wage gains for participants: Any new training grants should be tied to a program’s record of raising the wages of its participants and helping them secure jobs. Because the support would only be eligible for effective programs, the funding could cover a larger share of costs. This component is also geared towards ensuring that recipients of the funding realize genuine economic mobility. Very short-term training programs, like digital skills training or prerequisites for more advanced training, could be eligible for assistance, without meeting the accountability criteria. This would likely be beneficial for some downstream roles created by an infrastructure investment. A different route: If not providing support directly to students for costs outside of tuition, fund supportive services at education institutions and other touch points for training: In the contexts of either tuition-free community college or in the absence of the aforementioned new funding stream that intends to cover non-tuition costs, attention to supportive services would need to be provided in some other way. This could include providing labor-management partnerships and community-based organizations support directly to provide crucial services, like onsite childcare, expanded food pantries, public and gas subsidies, flexible emergency funding for trainee needs, among other supports. Goal 3: Foster pathways to infrastructure jobs by investing in the information, guidance and support needed to navigate the training and career options and direct people to highly effective trainings. The public workforce coaching system only has the resources to serve a fraction of those who would benefit from guidance, and jobseekers still lack critical information on the outcomes of relevant training programs. Those who do receive support from the public workforce system will encounter services that prioritize immediate placement into any job—often leading to low-wage jobs—rather than providing the guidance and resources to access quality jobs and the training needed that will provide economic security over the course of a career. Key strategies to address these challenges include: Expand funding to hire and train more career coaches in the federal workforce system. Ensure career coaches have information and knowledge needed to navigate the changes in the broader economy, including the long-term career opportunities afforded by infrastructure occupations. Expand funding for career navigators and guidance counselors in the K-12 system with the aim of improving the availability of guidance for young people to pursue infrastructure careers and connect to youth apprenticeship opportunities. Create a new funding stream to support community-based organizations and other entities that provide career services and pre-apprenticeship programs, with an emphasis on reaching populations that historically have limited access to these services—people of color and low-income communities. In addition to broadly supporting career navigation, this funding should support organizations that provide recruitment, support and guidance for pre-apprenticeship participants. (1) Infrastructure jobs cover a large segment of the U.S. workforce: in 2019, more than one in ten workers were employed in infrastructure. Concentrated in 91 different occupations, infrastructure jobs go beyond those commonly associated with infrastructure, e.g. plumbers, engineers, construction workers, and telecommunications equipment installers. There are also large numbers of workers in supportive roles, such as business operations and management in a variety of settings, including engineering firms, utilities, warehouses, and construction sites.
New York, NY – The Markle Foundation is pleased to announce today that Margaret Hoover has been elected to its Board of Directors. Hoover is the host of Firing Line with Margaret Hoover on PBS, a revival of William F. Buckley Jr.'s long running public affairs television program. “Margaret is an astute observer who will bring a broad perspective to Markle’s work. She examines issues and communities from a deeply thoughtful perspective,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and President of Markle. “We are delighted to have Margaret join our Board and look forward to working together to drive an equitable economic recovery that opens opportunities to good jobs for all workers.” “Markle recognizes that it will take broad, cross-sector collaboration to address the current economic challenges and enable an even-handed economic recovery for all Americans,” said Margaret Hoover. “Through the Rework America Alliance, Markle has a vision for making opportunity available for everyone. I look forward to working with Markle’s leadership to advance these solutions.” Suzanne Nora Johnson, Chair, Markle Board of Directors, added, “Margaret’s unique set of experiences and accomplishments make her an excellent addition to the Markle Board. I am so pleased she will be joining us as we pursue our important work.” The Markle Foundation has formed the Rework America Alliance, a unique coalition of more than 30 partners, including civil rights organizations, nonprofits, private sector employers, labor unions and educators. The Alliance is working to advance opportunities for millions of unemployed and low wage workers to move into good jobs, particularly people of color who have been disproportionately affected by the current economic and health crisis. Hoover is a political commentator for CNN and President of American Unity Fund, a political organization focused on achieving full freedom and equality for LGBT Americans. A best selling author, Ms. Hoover served in The White House under President George W. Bush, in the Department of Homeland Security, on Capitol Hill and on two presidential campaigns. Ms. Hoover serves on the boards of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, the Hoover Presidential Foundation, the Belgian American Educational Foundation, and The 19th* a non-profit newsroom. Raised in Colorado, Hoover has lived in China, Mexico, Bolivia and Taiwan, speaks fluent Spanish fluently and has studied Mandarin Chinese. Ms. Hoover lives in New York City with her husband and their two children. About The Markle Foundation The Markle Foundation challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions to critical public problems and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a labor market that will enable workers in America to move into good jobs in the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives include the Rework America Alliance, which draws on Markle’s Skillful and Rework America initiatives. This work follows Markle’s success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet. For more information, visit markle.org, follow @MarkleFdn and @ReworkAmerica on Twitter, and read our book, America's Moment. For media inquiries, please contact [email protected] or 917-705-6531
Margaret Hoover is the host of PBS’ “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover” a refreshing revival of the iconic television series hosted by William F. Buckley Jr. for 33 years. A CNN political commentator, Ms. Hoover has served in The White House under President George W. Bush, in the Department of Homeland Security, on Capitol Hill and on two presidential campaigns. She is the President of American Unity Fund a political organization focused on achieving full freedom and equality for LGBT Americans as well as the bestselling author of American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party in 2011. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, The Daily Beast, CNN.com and FoxNews.com. Ms. Hoover serves on the boards of Stanford University's Hoover Institution, the Hoover Presidential Foundation, and the Belgian American Educational Foundation. Raised in Colorado, Hoover has lived in China, Mexico, Bolivia and Taiwan, speaks fluent Spanish and studied Mandarin Chinese. Ms. Hoover lives in New York City with her husband and their two children.
The Need to Unlock Data to Inform Equity and Economic Mobility Economic mobility remains elusive for far too many Americans and has been declining for several decades. A person born in 1980 is 50% less likely to earn more than their parents than a person born in 1950 is. While all children who grow up in low-opportunity neighborhoods face mobility challenges, racial, ethnic, and gender disparities add even more complexity. In 99% of neighborhoods in America, Black boys earn less, and are more likely to fall into poverty, than white boys, even when they grow up on the same block, attend the same schools, and have the same family income. In 2016, a Pew Research study found that the median wealth of white households was ten times the median wealth of Black households and eight times that of Hispanic households. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated existing disparities, as communities of color suffer higher exposure and death rates, along with greater job loss and increased food and housing insecurity. Reversing this overall decline to address the persistent racial, ethnic, and gender gaps in economic mobility is one of the great challenges of our time. Some progress has been made in identifying the causes and potential solutions to declining mobility, yet policymakers, researchers, and the public still lack access to critical data necessary to understand which policies, programs, interventions, and investments are most effective at creating opportunity for students and workers, particularly those struggling with intergenerational poverty. Data collected across all levels of governments, nonprofit organizations, and private sector companies can help answer foundational policy and research questions on what drives economic mobility. There are promising efforts underway to improve government data infrastructure and processes at both the federal and state levels, but critical data often remains siloed, and legitimate concerns about privacy and civil liberties can make data difficult to share. Often, data on vulnerable populations most in need of services is of poor quality or is not collected at all. To tackle this challenge, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Markle Foundation (Markle) spent much of 2020 working with a diverse range of experts to identify strategic opportunities to accelerate progress towards unlocking data to improve policymaking, answer foundational research questions, and ensure that individuals can easily and responsibly access the information they need to make informed decisions in a rapidly changing environment.
The Biden administration has made investments in education and training a top priority. The campaign’s proposal to support education beyond high school aims to make meaningful investments in the education and training system. It includes a $50 billion investment in community colleges and other effective training providers to make skill building more affordable and effective and to create pathways for workers to achieve economic security. This brief outlines the three key policy goals we think are necessary to ensure worker success in the post-pandemic economy. More detail on the Markle Foundation’s views of the policies needed to support a strong recovery can be found here. The ideas in this brief would advance the Biden Administration’s goals of expanding community college training programs, increasing partnerships between unions and employers, and providing people greater access to these programs. Specifically, we believe the Biden Administration should address program affordability and effectiveness in order to reorient job-connected training offered by community colleges and the workforce system toward the long-term economic security of learners while advancing racial equity in economic outcomes. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women and people of color, who face higher unemployment rates and a greater demand to exit the workforce to take care of children and family members. Education and training will be needed to help people find jobs and reenter the labor force. At the same time, reforms are needed in the education and training systems and in the employment system to improve historical gaps along racial lines in completion and labor market outcomes. There are three core policy goals we think are critical for the Biden Administration to address: 1. Increase program affordability to ensure that tuition and supportive services costs are no longer a barrier to pursuing education and training; 2. Provide a framework to identify, scale, and use effective training programs, accounting for the wide variation in program quality; 3. Expand employer and union-based training programs to create more opportunities for workers to pursue job-connected training that allows them to earn while they learn. Below you will find further details on each of these goals. Increase program affordability including non-tuition costs Affordability is a major barrier that individuals face when pursuing post-secondary education and training. Pell Grants do not cover all effective programs, including training programs run by community-based organizations and labor-management partnerships. Additionally, Pell Grants are not generous enough for more expensive programs. While program cost often accounts for the largest expense, the cost of supportive services – such as transportation and childcare – can prove to be an insurmountable barrier for many low-income learners. According to a 2018 CLASP report, 71 percent of community college students have some unmet financial need. Several evaluations have shown that when provided with wraparound supports and additional financial assistance, community college students are more likely to complete their programs and achieve better labor market outcomes. Below are options to address affordability of both tuition and supportive services: 1. Fund program costs, supportive services, and cash aid: Creating a new training account or a training grant would enable the Administration to make funding available that is sufficient enough to cover both tuition and essential supportive services costs while workers are pursuing effective education and training programs. We would suggest that any new training funding be tied to a program’s record of raising the wages of its participants and helping them secure jobs (see further details below). In providing funding for only effective programs, the funding could cover a larger share of costs. We would suggest making funding more generous than Pell and giving students the option to use a Pell Grant or the new financing vehicle. To provide the most robust amount of support, a training account should be given to all unemployed and low-wage workers for any program that gets people good jobs at good wages. More limited policies could include: Limit program eligibility to those that are two years or less in length. Limit funding to only unemployed workers rather than unemployed and all low-wage workers. Focus on specific sectors. The proposal could cover only programs in certain sectors –such as infrastructure, clean energy, health care – reducing covered programs. Leverage existing social safety net investments to reduce costs of supportive services, including prioritizing childcare block grant dollars for students with children and providing states with assistance on leveraging SNAP dollars. 2. Fund supportive services and cash aid directly to students: If major investments in community colleges make programs tuition free, a training grant or account for individuals could provide additional funding directly to workers to help them cover non-program costs at community colleges and program costs for effective training providers outside of the community college system, including union training programs and programs run by community-based organizations. Making this small amount of funding available to learners for the most effective programs is a valuable way to steer more people toward these programs. 3. Alternatively, additional funding could be provided to community colleges and effective training providers to enable them to provide these critical services. But without an effectiveness framework, some of this funding would support students in ineffective programs. Create an effectiveness framework for program funding and accountability The Biden campaign’s proposed $50 billion investment is substantial in the context of current funding. It is critical that this funding goes to effective programs in order to ensure that these programs translate to worker success in the labor market. An effectiveness framework helps protect workers from predatory programs and will help in the identification of programs outside the community college system that should be funded, including union training programs and programs at private institutions. Returns to training programs vary widely. Our review of the research finds that federal job training programs raise earnings between approximately $1,300 and $3,500 annually. Sectoral training programs, such as Per Scholas and Year Up, raise wages between $2,000 and $8,000 annually. Associate degree programs have an average return of between $6,000 and $9,600 annually, with the highest return programs in health raising wages by $17,600 annually. Programs with higher returns could receive more funding, and we would also recommend that programs that raise wages and get people into the highest wage jobs (e.g. $50,000) receive the most investment. States could identify which programs are effective. Many states already have the capacity to assess program effectiveness. Further investments in data infrastructure, paired with federal-state partnerships to assess program quality, would allow other states to do so as well. Below are other options for creating an effectiveness framework within the context of community college investments: 1. Higher funding levels to effective programs: If there are plans to distribute funding to community colleges and partners through states, funding could go to states on the condition that they measure effectiveness and provide more funding to the most effective programs. One model is Career Connect Washington, which fully funds student enrollment for each student enrolled in a state-validated Career Connect program. Indiana has also created a list of programs that meet certain labor market outcomes and provides additional funding to students for these programs. 2. Transparency & coaching: At a minimum, workers need information and guidance to determine which program best fits their needs and career goals. Given that workers need counseling to guide their education and training choices and to complete training programs, the expansion of career coaching should be considered. Coaching funding could also be conditioned based on states’ efforts to make information on training programs, including training scorecards, available. Expand employer-based training and union-provided training Investments in community colleges alone will not lead to more employer-based programs as many community colleges do not have sufficiently strong employer partnerships. Grants to partnerships of colleges and businesses are also unlikely to be effective because it is hard to judge which programs have real employer buy-in. We saw this with the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grants where evaluations did not show a consistent positive impact on earnings, suggesting funding could have been better targeted. To achieve the goals of expanding employer partnerships and employer-based training, we recommend two complementary proposals below: 1. Grants to organizations that support employers on training, inclusive hiring, and job quality. Fund organizations, not just colleges, that have a history of working with employers to create training programs that meet certain job quality thresholds. This would lead to the creation of a wider array of training programs and could support organizations that work on job quality and workers’ rights simultaneous to training, including labor-management partnerships. Organizations and partnerships supported should also be allowed to use funds to promote inclusive hiring practices that remove barriers for people of color and those without formal education. We believe a small grant program could have a big impact since WIOA funding is so minimal and there is not much other funding available for organizations working with employers. 2. Grants to small and medium-sized businesses and unions to create training programs: Provide funding to small and medium-sized employers and to unions and labor-management partnerships to work with community colleges and other eligible providers to create training programs, with a requirement that their partners also receive funding. This would allow employers and labor partners to signal which training partners are high quality and incentivize educational leadership and employers to co-define in-demand skills and collaborate on program creation. Multiple employers should be required to collaborate to ensure that skills are not specific to one employer. Additionally, job quality standards, such as at least $35,000 annual salary, should be imposed to ensure training leads to good jobs.
Creating a Just Recovery through Advancing Effective Training and Quality Jobs Investments and policy changes are needed to create a widely shared recovery and a labor market that realizes economic security for the displaced and low-wage workers most impacted by this recession. To do this, we need to take the following steps: Direct resources and solutions to alleviate immediate economic suffering: This includes continuing to provide income support and working to meet basic needs, such as housing and healthcare. Raise the minimum wage and improve labor standards: This will raise the floor for all workers and will address poverty-level wages, disproportionately earned by women and workers of color. Spur the creation of good jobs: Investments in sectors like infrastructure, clean energy, education, and public health can create career opportunities with family-sustaining wages, benefits, and stability, while also strengthening the nation’s ability to respond to the daunting crises we face. Crucially, we also need to prioritize building a workforce, higher education and training system that ensure displaced and low-wage workers—disproportionately people of color and those without bachelor’s degrees—have real pathways to gain the skills needed to obtain good quality jobs of today and the future. Workers are returning to a labor market that has permanently changed, with accelerating change in skills-demand that pre-dated the recession. More consumers are relying on e-commerce, more businesses are adopting automation, and more people are teleworking. Some of the jobs lost will not come back, and many more will require new skills as workers navigate the transition from an industrial to a digital economy. For example, good jobs in sectors like construction now require significant technical training and some of the most rapidly growing jobs require advanced computer skills. Our current workforce, higher education, and training system cannot meet the demand to prepare and connect enough displaced and low-wage workers to good quality jobs. This system is also not designed to improve job quality or address longstanding racial, gendered, ableist, and other injustices engrained in the labor market. Our current workforce system serves only a fraction of those who need access to education and training. Community colleges and other training providers are struggling to maintain operations, and effective training providers do not have the support needed to scale to serve more of the workers who could benefit. Our current system prioritizes immediate placement into jobs, regardless of job quality. This system is also doing far too little to combat systemic injustices in the labor market, such as labor market discrimination and occupational segregation. Without additional funding and critical reforms, many people will be steered into low-quality, low-wage jobs, unable to navigate and access the programs that develop skills needed to get good quality jobs. This will result, as with the last recession, in certain populations, particularly Black and Latinx workers, seeing painfully slow recoveries, with higher unemployment rates and longer periods before their earnings recover. Policy Goals for an Equitable Workforce, Higher Education, and Training System To address the current challenges, a new framework for education and training policy would meet three objectives. 1. All unemployed and low-wage workers can afford effective training that will lead to a good job. 2. Employers, labor, and community partners receive support to collaborate on three areas: create effective training programs, improve job quality, and reduce bias in hiring that prevents qualified candidates from accessing jobs. 3. Workers have the information, guidance, and support needed to navigate training options and pathways to economic security. These objectives should be considered A) indispensable complements to numerous major federal investments that are being considered, particularly with respect to the creation of infrastructure jobs and a strong bolstering of the nation’s community college systems; and B) vital towards ensuring workers can secure good jobs in the labor market given the significant change in skill requirements for family-wage sustaining jobs. The remainder of this brief details the challenges that would be addressed by each of these objectives and outlines broad solutions. Goal 1: All unemployed and low-wage workers can afford effective training that will lead to a good job. Challenge Many unemployed and low-income workers cannot access or afford effective education and training programs that would put them on a path to secure good jobs in the future. Community colleges and other training providers are struggling to maintain operations in the face of huge budget cuts, declining enrollment, and social distancing restrictions. Effective programs—including those delivered online—are unaffordable or inaccessible to too many workers, while many available training programs are ineffective and do not lead to good jobs. Potential Solutions Create a new dedicated funding stream for unemployed and low-wage workers to pursue education and training programs that will put them on a path to accessing higher wage jobs. Workers should be given sufficient funds to pursue effective job training programs of their choosing, where effective is defined by employment outcomes and wage growth. o To make sure everyone can participate successfully, funding should be flexible enough to cover both tuition and supportive services like childcare, housing, transportation, and other basic needs. Invest in state data infrastructure to improve insights into labor market information and measure the impact of training programs on employment and wages. Provide a basic small stipend to all unemployed and low-wage workers to pursue any online career-oriented training they choose, without meeting the above criteria, including digital skills training and prerequisites for more advanced training, such as apprenticeship readiness programs. Goal 2: Employers, labor, and community partners receive support to collaborate on three areas: create effective training programs, improve job quality, and reduce bias in hiring that prevents qualified candidates from accessing jobs. Challenge Public funding dedicated to helping employers meet their talent needs is not sufficiently tied to employers’ commitments to create good quality jobs. Instead, we often spend taxpayer dollars to help employers train people for low-wage work. We also do not have an adequate supply of highly effective workforce training programs and pipelines into those programs, particularly in areas that we can expect significant increases in demand (e.g. infrastructure sectors). Current programs are not designed to address the bias or discrimination in the education system or labor market that makes it harder for people of color to access good jobs. Potential Solutions Provide funding to organizations – including labor-management partnerships, community-based organizations, and workforce boards – that work with groups of employers in a sector or a region to create effective training, improve the quality of existing and new jobs, and reduce bias in hiring, particularly with skills-based hiring practices. Support employers and unions in providing meaningful training opportunities to new and incumbent workers for quality jobs. Support organizations that provide successful on-ramps to effective programs, such as bridge programs and apprenticeship-readiness programs. Goal 3: Workers have the information, guidance, and support needed to navigate training options and pathways to economic security. Challenge The public workforce coaching system only has the resources to serve a fraction of those who would benefit from career counseling and training navigation assistance. Those who do receive support encounter a system that prioritizes immediate placement into any job, rather than critical information, resources, and support to access training and good quality jobs that provide economic security and mobility. Potential Solutions Expand federal funding to hire and train more career coaches in the federal workforce system. Create a new federal funding stream to support community-based organizations and other entities that provide career services that show good results for communities of color, low-income communities, and other populations that historically have limited access to these services. Provide funds to states to expand coaching in other organizations used by jobseekers including community colleges, community-based organizations, and labor-management partnerships, and provide training to career coaches in the state so that they can help clients get into higher-wage jobs. Improve the access to and integration of information on the outcomes of workforce and education programs.Adopt complementary proposals that make necessary investments in broadband, devices, and digital skills to enable everyone to successfully learn online.
"Congratulations to Denis McDonough on his confirmation by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. In the four years of his leadership at Markle, Denis has been a deeply committed colleague and wise counsel as we work to open opportunities for all American workers in the digital economy. The nation will be better off for his service in this new role." -Zoë Baird, CEO and President, Markle Foundation