ILR School

Equity in Focus: Job Creation for a Just Society

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[Excerpt] Prioritizing gender and racial equity to promote a strong and just economy is a high priority of the Biden-Harris Administration. Historic levels of financing have been made available to support a range of infrastructure projects across the United States through key pieces of legislation, chief among them the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law in November 2021. The immediate issue is ensuring that the $1.2 trillion in direct government spending made available through the law is distributed in an equitable manner; that the jobs created or bolstered through this major infusion of federal funding include groups of people who historically have been excluded from past opportunities, and importantly, that these jobs are quality jobs—jobs that pay well, have strong social and labor protections, and where possible, are union jobs. This report explores these themes and discusses how policymakers, practitioners, and advocates are addressing the inequities in three sectors: the child care economy, the clean energy economy, and the construction trades, as presented in the Equity in focus—Job Creation for a Just Society series. The series was a year-long engagement made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and The Worker Institute at the Cornell University ILR School. The webinar series and summit brought together local, state, and federal policymakers, practitioners, unions, workers, industry stakeholders, policy researchers, philanthropy, and advocates to explore how best to prioritize gender and racial equity as core components of a strong and just economy. This report captures the key social, economic, and political issues discussed during the Equity in focus webinar series and summit, which explored the challenges and solutions to achieving equity in job creation in these three sectors. The solutions highlighted in this report are rooted in local-level innovations designed to reverse inequalities in job creation and access that are supported through partnerships with the state and federal government.

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Cornell University, ILR School, The Workers Institute


gender equality; racial equality; job creation; construction; child care; clean energy economy


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