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Office of Innovative Program Delivery
Center for

Transportation Workforce Development
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Highway Funding for Workforce Development

BIL Introduces New Eligibilities and Flexibilities

Two civil engineers working with tablet on a highway bridge by Pixza

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Section 13007 (Workforce Development, Training, and Education) gives states the flexibility to fund workforce development activities. States can use unlimited funds from four large federal-aid highway programs: National Highway Performance Program; Surface Transportation Block Grant Program; Highway Safety Improvement Program; and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. BIL dramatically expands the amount of potential funding for workforce development. Further, BIL expands the number and type of project eligibilities.

How Much Funding is Available?

States can choose to dedicate funds for workforce development—the BIL’s new flexibility has no maximum nor minimum expenditure level. Workforce activities are eligible for 100% federal share—no local matching funds required. Most other formula program projects only receive 80% federal share.

Approximately $50 billion per year is made available, so even a small proportion can have significant impacts on the transportation workforce. Each state’s apportionment is different based on formula, and figures from FY22 can be seen here. Formulas ensure each state receives a minimum share of all highway program funds.

What Workforce Development Projects can be Funded?

Funding is flexible if projects support one of the following four goals: a) increasing women and minority participation; b) addressing workforce gaps; c) building skills supporting emerging transportation technologies; and d) attracting new sources of job-creating investment. The statute calls out the following specific options for how the funding can be used, among other activities:

  • Tuition and other financial support to universities, community colleges, and vocational schools
  • Apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and on-the-job training
  • Activities associated with industry stakeholders, workforce development boards, labor organizations, and economic development organization
  • Student internships
  • Outreach campaigns to develop interest in transportation careers and employment programs

Example Projects

Local and Economic Hiring Preferences

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law authorizes the use of hiring preferences based on geography or economic disadvantage for construction jobs. States may want to combine funding for workforce development and hiring preferences to help bring underrepresented populations into the construction workforce. See this fact sheet for more information about hiring preferences.

Learn More

Local/regional transportation staff and workforce development professionals should engage with their state department of transportation to advance projects that may be eligible for the program.

Additional information is available from the FHWA Division Office in your state, or from the FHWA Center for Transportation Workforce Development. FHWA has also published a Toolkit on Strategic Workforce Development.

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