Roadmap to Equity: Ensuring Federal Infrastructure Investments Create Good Jobs for Women & People of Color

By Sapna Mehta

In 2021 and 2022, President Biden signed three critical bills into law—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act (CHIPS and Science Act). They provide nearly $2 trillion in federal infrastructure, clean energy, and technology funding with the potential to create millions of good jobs in local communities. Together they have the potential to revitalize the U.S. labor market and pave the way toward diversifying a range of occupations and industries.

These laws stand to modernize and enhance the transportation, energy, clean water, and digital sectors by directing significant funds toward these efforts.

  • IIJA alone invests a historic $1.2 trillion over 10 years in rebuilding crumbling roads, bridges, and public transportation systems. It also supports advanced energy technologies, environmental remediation and resilience, and clean water infrastructure; closes the digital divide; and modernizes the electric grid.
  • IRA allocates $369 billion over 10 years for clean energy production, climate solutions, and environmental justice.
  • The CHIPS and Science Act authorizes $52.7 billion over 10 years to encourage the construction of semiconductor manufacturing facilities, boosting the nation’s science and technology base and bolstering national and economic security.

These measures hold promise to increase economic opportunity and security for workers with low incomes, people of color, and women. Yet jobs in many of the industries experiencing investment are disproportionately held by white men. Turning these investments into high-quality jobs for women, people of color, and persons with low incomes will require intentional efforts to address their severe underrepresentation in the industries where federal investments are flowing.

In this report, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) aims to support national, state, and community leaders and advocates in navigating these laws by:

  • Providing a high-level overview of the IIJA, IRA, and CHIPS and Science Act;
  • Identifying the workforce and supportive service funding opportunities within the infrastructure laws;
  • Highlighting initiatives that can promote equity in infrastructure jobs; and
  • Recommending a preliminary set of action steps for local and state advocates that can help ensure infrastructure jobs benefit women and people of color.

>>View the full report

Note: This publication was updated on December 18, 2023.