TEN releases "Road to Jobs" study on the state of the nation's workforce

The study is the first of its kind, using census and other government data to examine the employment of African Americans, Hispanics, and women in the construction field in 18 metropolitan areas, most of which are Midwestern and Northeastern cities that have seen most industrial jobs disappear.  The study found that African-Americans, Latinos and women are underrepresented compared to whites in every one of the 18 metropolitan areas.

In 2005, Congress passed SAFETEA-LU, a transportation measure that was the largest non-defense expenditure in American history.  It contains still largely ignored provisions that could increase the percentages of minorities and women in these well-paying jobs.  Currently, federal law allows states to use up to one-half of 1 percent of federal highway funds for workforce development.  This small investment in apprenticeship and local workforce development can have a major impact on the makeup of the workforce.  

The Transportation Equity Network is calling for federal transportation law to make this provision mandatory for local workforce development.  This would generate $1.43 billion in job training funds that could be spent on pre-apprenticeship programs and supportive services to help women, Latinos, African-Americans and other minorities establish a foothold in the job market. 

TEN is also calling on state and local governments to pass workforce development policies and ordinances that will increase job-training monies and encourage diversity in the workforce on public and private construction.

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