President Joe Biden released his American Jobs Plan Wednesday which includes improvements in the country’s infrastructure but also includes a commitment to racial equity.
Biden’s plan will invest $100 million in workforce development programs aimed specifically at underserved communities. These programs will put students on a career path before they leave high school.
The plan will help trainees compete for in-demand jobs including income support, counseling, and case management to pair with high-quality training and partnerships between educational institutions, unions, and employers.
Internet infrastructure is also on the agenda. Black and Latino families are less likely to be able to access home broadband internet than white families. That divide has only grown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden’s act will prioritize building “future proof” broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas to ensure the country reaches 100% high-speed broadband coverage. Biden is also pushing to make the internet affordable for rural, urban, and tribal communities.
Historically Black universities and colleges (HBCUs), which were thrust into the spotlight last year during the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, will receive $20 million to upgrade research infrastructure and laboratories at HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs). That will include the creation of a new national laboratory that will be affiliated with an HBCU.
The American Jobs Plan will also boost minority-owned manufacturing by quadrupling support for the Manufacturing Extensions Partnership, which will increase the involvement of minority-owned and rurally located small and medium-sized enterprises.
Biden is also pushing to boost climate investments in underserved communities. The American Jobs Plan will target 40% of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities including communities of color.
Additionally, the act will eliminate all lead pipes across the nation to safeguard the health and safety of families of color. Invest in clean energy and climate justice. Black, Latin, and Indigenous communities have been burdened more by pollution than white Americans.
The Bronx, which is home to mostly Black and Hispanic New Yorkers, is the home of five superfund sites.
Superfund sites are places contaminated by hazardous waste and identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a candidate for cleanup because it poses a risk to human health and/or the environment.
In comparison, Brooklyn just has one superfund site.
The plan will also build more equitable transit infrastructures and public systems, make historic investments in addressing racial segregation caused by decades of failed infrastructure projects.