Study: Most states failing to boost job access for women, minorities
Leaders from TEN rally at release events in 14 cities calling for infrastructure investments, job access
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2011—Most states are failing to boost job access to those hit hardest by the recession—minorities and women—in the multi-billion-dollar federal highway construction field, according to a first-of-its-kind study by the Transportation Equity Network (TEN) that was released today.
As the study was released, community and faith leaders from TEN held rallies in 14 cities (list below) to call for job creation through infrastructure investments and increased job access.
The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work presented the first-ever compilation of data from all 50 states on their use of on-the-job-training and apprenticeship programs to boost job access for minorities and women in the federal highway construction field from 2008-10. Key report findings:
- Most states are doing a poor job of using OJT and apprenticeship programs to boost highway construction job access for minorities and women.
- Four states—Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, and Minnesota—succeeded in increasing the percentage of both women and people of color in training programs from 2008-10.
- Community organizing by TEN members to push for broad use of OJT and apprenticeship programs led to top rankings and breakthroughs in Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, and Illinois
- Indiana and Illinois were standout states in terms of the overall increase in the use of OJT/apprenticeships from 2008-10, surpassing more populous states such as California and New York.
- Only two states had at least 50% women in OJT/apprenticeship programs from 2008-10: Maine (75%) and North Dakota (55%).
“Millions of Americans are struggling with joblessness right now, especially people of color and women. These training and apprenticeship programs are a powerful way to increase job access and help them build careers, lives, and communities,” said TEN Executive Director Laura Barrett. “Some states are doing a good job of taking advantage of these programs, but too many aren't even trying.”
Access to jobs from federal highway investments is no small matter. The federal highway budget was more than $42 billion in 2010, and the Obama administration’s budget request for federal highways for 2011 was nearly $43 billion for 2011 (USDOT fact sheet, PDF). President Obama’s American Jobs Act proposes $50 billion in immediate spending on transportation infrastructure, including highways.
The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work provides detailed rankings on which states are using training and apprenticeship programs to make real progress toward equity and diversity in highway construction, and which states are failing to recruit and train women and minorities. The study also describes the steps necessary to improve states’ progress, and provides local, state and federal policy recommendations.
To mark the report release on Oct. 4, Transportation Equity Network affiliate groups in 14 cities held rallies at key infrastructure sites, where they called for increased job access through infrastructure investments in their communities.
Affiliates of TEN held events in Oakland, CA; Santa Rosa, CA; Honolulu, HI; Chicago, IL; Springfield, IL; Baltimore, MD; Saginaw, MI; Detroit, MI; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Buffalo, NY; Portland, OR; Pittsburgh, PA; Austin, TX.
The Transportation Equity Network is a project of Gamaliel.