From transportation to water to energy, our country’s infrastructure depends on millions of workers every day. Even though these positions tend to pay higher wages, pose lower educational barriers to entry, and have enormous replacement needs, there have been struggles to connect prospective workers — especially younger and more diverse workers — to careers in this space. The economic opportunity is evident and needed, but it continues to fall out of reach for too many people. As Congress looks to support small businesses and other affected industries during the COVID-19 recession, there is an opportunity to hire, train, and retain talent in the skilled trades.
On Monday, October 12, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program hosted an event exploring the potential and significance of a new InfraCorps Program. This multiyear federal program will aim to develop a diverse workforce in the skilled trades as part of an Infrastructure Stimulus Plan for the COVID-19 Recession. A panel of experts discussed the need, opportunity, and impact of such a program that has the potential to provide flexible learning and career opportunities in the skilled trades, especially for underrepresented, disadvantaged, and disconnected workers.