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.
Local and targeted hiring refers to policies attached to major economic development and construction projects that seek to ensure that a certain percentage of the jobs on the contract be set aside for local residents or for job seekers that share a particular set of demographic characteristics, such as being from communities historically underrepresented in an industry or experiencing barriers to employment. A range of community and labor advocates worked together with federal policymakers to include a provision in the BIL that allows policymakers to enact preferences for local and economically-targeted hiring on highway and transit construction projects receiving financial support from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). This is the first time local and economically-targeted hire on federally-funded projects is allowed after years of community advocacy.
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. The BIL represents an important organizing opportunity for community groups and unions to meet with state officials on incorporating local and economically-targeted hiring provisions in the highway and transit construction contracts that local agencies will be issuing over each of the next 5 years. Our hope is that this guide will be helpful not just for BIL implementation, but for other local initiatives and future legislation as well.