Who Will Benefit From Biden’s American Jobs Infrastructure Plan?
“This is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new economy.” These words set the tone for the American Jobs Plan, a piece of proposed legislation from the Biden administration that’s aimed at helping to build the U.S. economy by investing in the country’s infrastructure. This includes updating American electric grids, roads, bridges, water systems, housing and the internet, as well as investing in research and development, manufacturing and caregiving.
The United States’ infrastructure ranks 13th on a global scale, despite the country having the world’s largest economy. One of the major goals of the American Jobs Plan is to create a strong economy through domestic investment into the infrastructure systems we use to support society. Doing this will strengthen the economy in large part by providing millions of high-quality, well-paying jobs while also facilitating easier commerce.
The American Jobs Plan arrives at a time when people living in the United States greatly need the economic boost; the legislation, if it passes, could help people get back on their feet after the COVID-19 pandemic upended the economy — and millions of lives in the process. Here’s how the proposed plan could work to accomplish this, along with who stands to see the most benefits.
What’s Included in the American Jobs Infrastructure Plan?
President Biden’s American Jobs Plan is a project that aims to solve a variety of economic issues in the United States by expanding infrastructure. If passed, the proposal would invest nearly $2 trillion over the next decade to, according to a fact sheet about the plan released by the White House, “upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, revitalize manufacturing, invest in basic research and science, shore up supply chains, and solidify our care infrastructure.” These investments also stand to help tackle the record unemployment caused by the pandemic, address climate change and help the United States maintain its role as an important international player, all the while improving the overall quality of the country’s infrastructure, productivity and long-term growth.
The plan includes fixing highways and bridges and upgrading transit systems, airports and other ports of entry. Specifically, with regard to transit, it will focus on repairing or replacing buses, train cars, stations and airports and will expand transit by building systems that enter currently underserved communities.
Additionally, the American Jobs Plan proposes renewing electrical grids nationwide, improving access to clean drinking water and running high-speed internet to most households across the country. To accomplish some of this, lead pipes and service lines will be eliminated to ensure clean drinking water. Orphan oil, gas wells and abandoned mines that pollute water supplies will be repaired and capped to prevent contamination.
Some of the other objectives include preserving and modernizing homes, commercial buildings, schools, child care centers and federal buildings. Personal and commercial buildings will also undergo infrastructure improvements to become more resilient, accessible and energy-efficient. The proposal plans to raise wages and benefits for home care workers who are essential to society and the economy by creating jobs that are both new and better for the country’s caregivers.
Investing in manufacturing, training, and research and development is another part of the plan. It’s intended to help secure U.S. supply chains and maintain the country’s competitiveness in innovations of the future. In every area, a primary focus of the plan is to create well-paying jobs in safe and healthy work environments. At the same time, the plan seeks to ensure that workers will be able to organize, unionize and collectively bargain with their employers so more people around the country can maintain a higher standard of living.
The Renewable Energy Industry Could Finally Have the Funds to Expand
The American Jobs Plan proposes investing hundreds of billions of dollars into energy infrastructure, and much of this activity focuses on transitioning the nation over to clean, renewable energy in an effort to slow and reverse the effects of climate change. If passed, the plan will create a stable standard of energy efficiency, upgrade federal buildings to use clean power around the clock, invest in electric vehicles and transportation, and encourage the use of zero-carbon energy through grants.
Making these changes and upgrades will add up to 1.2 million jobs per year in the renewable energy sector. Well-paying jobs across the nation could become more widely available in the arenas of solar and wind energy, high-efficiency car production and the conversion of industrial buildings into energy-efficient spaces. These employment opportunities could also encompass many jobs that don’t require a college education — in addition to some that do. Finally, the plan proposes providing clean-energy engineers with direct funding for the research and development needed to update and expand clean energy’s capabilities and determine ways to make this form of energy more functional and affordable.
The Construction Industry Could See Extensive Growth
In many ways, the benefits that the construction industry could see overlap with those of the renewable energy industry. Building solar power spaces and wind farms requires significant construction from the ground up. Furthermore, the move to upgrade the country’s roads, bridges and other physical structures overall will provide millions of jobs to the construction industry. The ongoing maintenance these upgraded features will require also highlights the potential for the plan to create positive impacts on opportunities for long-term employment.
If the plan passes, the construction industry will become more deeply involved in building or upgrading affordable and sustainable housing, roads and bridges, water systems, schools, care facilities, federal buildings, high-speed internet infrastructure and renewed power grids. Airports, ports and other transportation-related infrastructure will also likely undergo major upgrades and overhauls. At a time when the construction industry is lagging due to COVID-19-induced setbacks, the American Jobs Plan provides hope for a revival of hundreds of key trades and professions.
The Auto Industry Will Undergo an Eco-Friendly Revamp
Moving the United States away from vehicles powered by fossil fuels and towards plug-in electric vehicles is an investment that can spawn millions of jobs both directly and indirectly. Aside from the initial manufacturing of electric vehicles, the entire supply chain for automobile manufacturing stands to be impacted. With the idea being to ultimately reach 100% electric buses and a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers, the level of job creation this element of the plan could generate stands to be extensive.
Specifically, the White House has stated, “The future of the auto industry is electric — and it’s made in America.” Because the transition to electric vehicles will require training and research and development on top of accelerations in manufacturing, there could be extensive job creation for professionals in all levels of electric vehicle development.
The Fiber Optic Industry May Expand Nationwide
If the American Jobs Plan passes, $100 billion will go into bringing high-speed internet to the entire country. Currently, many rural communities are lacking this necessary resource. Approval of the plan could equate to a substantial influx of jobs coming to the fiber optic industry to provide this expansion. And it would also provide underfunded communities high-speed internet access — a necessary resource for participating in the economy when in-person jobs are otherwise unavailable.
With universal high-speed broadband coverage extending to an additional 30 million U.S. residents who are currently missing this service, the fiber optic industry in particular should expect a lot of growth. The need for fiber lines used to make broadband systems could skyrocket, accounting for ample employment opportunities in this technological field.