Joe Biden

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Holds Workforce Hub Convening in Baltimore, Announces Commitments to Train and Hire Local Residents to Support Major Infrastructure Projects

November 13, 2023

Today, Senior Advisor to President Biden and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su will travel to Baltimore, Maryland as the city holds its Workforce Hub convening and announces commitments to ensure students and workers have equitable access to good-paying jobs created by President Biden's Investing in America agenda. In May, the Biden-Harris Administration named Baltimore as one of five Workforce Hubs—along with Pittsburgh, Augusta, Columbus, and Phoenix—where historic legislation passed by President Biden, including the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, are catalyzing private and public investments and creating good-paying jobs. This week marks the second anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and with over 40,000 new infrastructure projects announced across 4,500 communities, it's clear that the President's agenda is rebuilding and transforming cities like Baltimore across the country. These investments demonstrate how Bidenomics—President Biden's vision for growing the economy from the middle out and bottom up—is creating jobs and opportunity in communities nationwide.

Baltimore and its surrounding communities are the site of significant investments from President Biden's Investing in America agenda. Across the state of Maryland, the Administration has announced $9.6 billion in projects to upgrade transportation, deliver clean and reliable energy, expand access to high-speed internet, ensure that residents have clean water, and more. This includes the $4.7 billion that President Biden announced last week for the Frederick Douglass Tunnel rail project— which will replace the 150-year-old Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, increasing speeds and reducing delays on the entire Northeast Corridor. Other key investments already delivered from President Biden's Investing in America agenda include $84 million to restore the Mid-Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and ensure the maintenance of the Port of Baltimore, enabling container ships to safely navigate through and get goods to communities quickly; $15 million to install fiber optic cable to connect underserved Baltimore residents to high-speed internet; and $7 million to upgrade the Martin Airport Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) train station to full accessibility. These investments will generate demand for skilled workers in the construction and related trades—good-paying jobs that will support working families in the Baltimore area.

In Baltimore, the Administration is partnering with local officials, employers, unions, community colleges, and other stakeholders to ensure a diverse and skilled workforce is ready to meet the demand for labor driven by transportation projects funded through the President's Investing in America agenda.

Today, Hub collaborators are announcing the following commitments to expand pathways into these good-paying jobs:

First, using funding from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Amtrak and the Baltimore-DC Building Trades Council will increase hiring and training to ensure that the Frederick Douglass Tunnel creates opportunities for Baltimore residents first and foremost:

  • Amtrak and the Baltimore-DC Building Trades Council have amended their project labor agreement, committing to a local hiring preference on the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program. At least 50% of all apprentice hours and at least 20% of all journey hours will go to workers from the City of Baltimore. The Baltimore-DC Building Trades will recruit from specific ZIP codes, including those around the program area and from disadvantaged communities in the City of Baltimore, for jobs on this program. This will be the first time that Amtrak will use local and economic hiring preferences, which are newly allowed under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This will ensure that the local community reaps the benefits of this investment.
  • Amtrak will invest at least $5 million in funding received through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to create recruitment and training programs for new jobs for Baltimore residents as part of the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program. Dedicated funding will support local community-based partnerships with the Baltimore-DC Building Trades to prepare residents in specific ZIP codes for apprenticeships and help them transition to journey-level careers. Funding will support technical training as well as critical support services that help new apprentices succeed in their training, including child care and access to transportation. The funding will also support career and technical education in Baltimore City Public Schools. This effort will make sure that local residents have the skills they need to participate in this project and other projects long into the future.
  • In partnership with the Baltimore-DC Building Trades Council, Amtrak will create a job center for the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program to connect City of Baltimore residents with opportunities for good-paying jobs.
  • Amtrak and the National Association of Building Trades Union (NABTU) will take lessons learned from the local hire agreement for the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program to ensure that local communities benefit from the jobs on future Amtrak projects along the Northeast Corridor and across the country.

Second, local and state partners will collaborate to expand union job opportunities to Baltimore residents, particularly those in disadvantaged communities, including through the use of project labor agreements (PLAs):

  • The Maryland Department of Transportation is committing to assess all projects above $20 million to determine workforce investments and policies, including PLAs or other strong labor standards, that can be implemented.
  • The State of Maryland has selected nine projects covering $9 billion in investment and 11,000 jobs—including 7,000 construction industry jobs—that will incorporate a PLA in their bidding process.
  • The City of Baltimore is committing to requiring PLAs on six projects with a total value of $30 million that will go out for bid over the next two years, providing more than 100 highly skilled jobs.

Third, local and state partners will collaborate in new ways to train workers to enter good-paying construction careers:

  • The Baltimore-DC Building Trades Union will commit to adding at least 200 additional apprentices over the next five years to meet the need for transportation projects in Baltimore with PLAs. The union will focus on recruiting apprentices from ZIP codes prioritized in the local hire agreement with Amtrak and will also focus on partnering with organizations that serve women to increase the recruitment of women into Registered Apprenticeship programs.
  • The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative will partner with the Baltimore-DC Building Trades to form partnerships with non-profits to host apprenticeship readiness programs that will provide direct entry into Registered Apprenticeships.
  • The Mayor's Office of Employment Development will partner with the Baltimore-DC Building Trades and other community collaborators to offer more supportive services like child care, transportation, and legal services to individuals to help them enter into and persist through apprenticeship programs.
  • The Baltimore City Public Schools Office of Career Readiness will partner with the Baltimore-DC Building Trades to expand the number of students moving from career and technical education programs into Registered Apprenticeships. This partnership will begin at Carver Vocational Technical School and Frederick Douglass High School.
  • The Maryland Department of Labor (MDOL) will support training for construction careers and Registered Apprenticeship through multiple federal grant programs.
    • Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, MDOL will support the Baltimore Mayor's Office of Employment Development to train 90 justice-involved individuals for construction and other jobs. Through a Department of Commerce Good Jobs Challenge award, MDOL will train up to 3,000 individuals for jobs in construction, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics.
    • MDOL will also award approximately $500,000 on an annual basis to training providers to support a pipeline of highly skilled workers for construction and other infrastructure careers.
  • The Maryland Department of Transportation's new workforce development framework will use highway formula funding to bring new workers into the skilled trades every year, funding training and services that reduce barriers to employment. Use of these funds is a new flexibility for state transportation agencies provided for in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
  • The Baltimore Mayor's Office of Employment Development, Baltimore-DC Building Trades, and Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative will collaborate to continue the work of the Workforce Hub moving forward.

Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Holds Workforce Hub Convening in Baltimore, Announces Commitments to Train and Hire Local Residents to Support Major Infrastructure Projects Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/367834

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