Local Opportunities Campaign Summer 2023 Congressional Letter

Local Opportunities Campaign Summer 2023 Congressional Letter

Last week, a letter signed by 61 Members of Congress was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in support of the Local Opportunities Campaign efforts to update current federal grant regulations—called the Uniform Guidance.

The letter was led by Representative Greg Casar and Senator Tammy Duckworth, and encourages the Biden Administration to move forward with updating federal grant regulations to allow cities and states to incorporate labor and equity standards when contracting with federal funds, including allowing local and targeted hiring on all federally-funded projects.

Members of Congress emphasized the critical importance of updating the Uniform Guidance to ensure that state and local recipients are able to implement legislative landmarks—like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)—in way that advances equity and family-sustaining jobs in their communities.

Local Opportunities Comment Re: Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Information

Local Opportunities Comment Re: Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Information

The Local Opportunities Coalition and supporting partners wrote a comment in response to the Office of Management and Budget’s Request for Information on how the Uniform Guidance can be updated or revised to give state and local recipients of federal financial assistance more tools to create good jobs and promote greater racial and gender equity in their hiring processes.

The Uniform Guidance is a set of federal regulations that lay out how states and cities can contract with federal funds, such as from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act. For decades, states and cities have been asking the federal government to revise these regulations, and the Biden Administration has taken the first steps to making these critical updates.

See the comment below. To read more about this campaign, including details on our policy recommendations, please visit the Local Opportunities Coalition website here.

Guide: Promoting Good Jobs Through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Guide: Promoting Good Jobs Through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), was signed into law on November 15, 2021. This federal legislation will bring $1.2 trillion to states and cities over the next 5 years to repair and build roads and bridges, public transportation, the broadband network, and water infrastructure, among many other critical infrastructure projects. Each state will receive billions of dollars in funding over the next 5 years through mandatory and competitive grants, loans, and bonds.

These funding opportunities offer a once in a generation opportunity to address community priorities for developing, strengthening, and building resilient infrastructure for the 21st century. At the same time, infrastructure dollars allocated to states and local communities may also be used to promote economic opportunity by creating good jobs. A number of obstacles—some rooted in history and others just the result of everyday struggles for workers—have often stood between local communities and the benefits of public infrastructure investment. The policies and programs described in this document are intended to help reconnect many workers to the good career jobs that infrastructure projects provide.

This guide provides an overview of local and targeted hiring policies, answers key questions for states and cities looking to implement these policies, and offers success stories from around the country.

Please also review this Q&A on hiring preferences from the USDOT, which we encourage you to use alongside this guide in meetings with contracting agencies. This document explains in detail the types of hiring preferences that can be used under the BIL.It also explicitly states that DOT is prioritizing projects that use local and other economic hiring in their discretionary grant applications. 

Additionally, the USDOT provides background resources as well as state specific fact sheets describing how each state may benefit from federal infrastructure dollars. These are important resources providing information on the amount of federal infrastructure money each state will receive over the next 5 years through formula funding, as well as discretionary grants states and cities can apply for.

If you have questions while preparing for a meeting with state officials, please contact one of the organizations that sponsored this guide (contact info is on the last page of the guide).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analysis of USDOT Local Labor Hiring Pilot finds that Local Hire Strengthen Local Economies

Analysis of USDOT Local Labor Hiring Pilot finds that Local Hire Strengthen Local Economies

This report from Jobs to Move America demonstrates that the lifting of a Reagan-era regulation prohibiting cities and states from using local hire policies in federally-funded construction projects would create stronger local economies, advance racial equity, and increase the ways that cities and states can create good jobs while building and repairing infrastructure.

A decades-old ban on local hire forbids cities and states from using local hire policies to specify a geographic preference for job creation in any public procurement funded with federal dollars.

The first stride toward eliminating this prohibition came under the Obama administration through the Local Labor Hiring Pilot project. “JMA is the first organization to analyze data from the Obama-era pilot project and found that using local hire does not adversely impact the number of bidders or bid price, contrary to the original justification for prohibiting local hire,” said Madeline Janis, JMA’s executive director.

The report also found that the pilot revealed extensive societal and economic benefits of local hire in creating jobs for local residents, especially for marginalized workers.

A national coalition of over 160 elected officials, community groups, and academics have joined Jobs to Move America in signing a letter calling on the Biden administration to swiftly remove the prohibition on local hire.