Study: Most States Failing to Boost Job Access for Women, Minorities

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Transportation Equity Network study ranks all 50 states, DC in expanding access to federal highway construction jobs through training

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"The question is whether those hit hardest by the recession—minorities and women—will be lifted up or left behind."

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 will be released during a media teleconference on Tuesday, October 4, at 11am ET.

"The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work" presents 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.

The study finds that most states are doing a poor job of using proven training programs to boost highway construction job access for minorities and women, though unemployment rates for minorities are nearly double those of whites, and female unemployment is ticking up while male unemployment is dropping.

For an advance look at the report (embargoed until 11am ET Oct. 4), please contact Stephen Boykewich, stephen(at)transportationequity(dot)org, Mob. 718-791-9162.

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.

With major highway infrastructure investments all but guaranteed as a near-term job creation strategy, the question is whether those hit hardest by the recession—minorities and women—will be able to break through their historical exclusion from the highway construction field. On-the-job training and apprenticeship programs are a proven and dramatically underutilized way to achieve that goal.

"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.

In addition to the Oct. 4 teleconference discussing the report release, Transportation Equity Network affiliate groups in 15 cities will be holding media events to mark the release and argue for increased job access through infrastructure investments in their communities.

Events will take place in Los Angeles, CA; Santa Rosa, CA; Honolulu, HI; Chicago, IL; Springfield, IL; Davenport, IA; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; Jackson, MS; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Buffalo, NY; Toledo, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; Seattle, WA. See contact info below for more details.

WHO: Transportation Equity Network grassroots leaders, national policy experts on equity in job access

WHAT: Teleconference on release of “The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work”; public release events in 15 cities

WHEN: Tuesday, October 4, 2011, 11am ET

WHERE: 866-931-7845, access code: 100317 (PLEASE RSVP to stephen(at)transportationequity(dot)org)

Media contact:
Stephen Boykewich


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