Infrastructure Funding and Its Connection to Job Quality and Equity
June 14, 2024

BIL and IRA address both equity and job quality in a number of tangible ways. See examples below.

Wage Standards

BIL: Includes Davis-Bacon Act standards for wages and benefits to protect workers in the construction sector and to advance good jobs. For more information on Davis-Bacon, see this guidance from the Department of Labor.

IRA: Tax credit incentives for registered apprenticeship connected to prevailing wage requirements.1 Specifically apply to Alternative Fuel Refueling Property Credit, Production Tax Credit, Credit for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration, Credit for Production of Clean Hydrogen, Clean Fuel Production Credit, Investment Tax Credit, Advanced Energy Project Credit, Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction.2 Additionally, wage requirements apply to the New Energy Efficient Home Credit and the Zero-Emission Nuclear Power Production Credit.


IRA: The IRA apprenticeship requirements include three components: a labor hours requirement, a ratio requirement, and a participation requirement. “Under the labor hours requirement, the taxpayer must ensure that, depending on when construction began, 12.5 percent or 15 percent of the total labor hours performed in the construction, alteration, or repair of the facility are performed by qualified apprentices from a registered apprenticeship program. Under the ratio requirement, the taxpayer must ensure that the applicable ratio of apprentices to journey-workers established by the registered apprenticeship program is met for apprentices working on the facility each day. Under the participation requirement, any taxpayer (or contractor or subcontractor) that employs four or more laborers or mechanics in the construction, alteration, or repair of the facility must also hire at least one qualified apprentice.”3

BIL: Encourages use of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship training programs to support large-scale infrastructure projects. States can use the IIJA funding to expand registered apprenticeships in the infrastructure space. Significant portions of BIL funding are flowing through the Department of Transportation (DOT) which considers use of apprenticeship, particularly in underserved populations, in the Grant Application Checklist for a Strong Transportation Workforce and Labor Plan.4

Project Labor Agreements

BIL: Demonstrates preference for projects that include project labor agreements.5 Specifically, BIL streamlines the approval process for project labor agreements on certain infrastructure projects funded by the law.6

IRA: Tax credits for clean energy project adherence to strong labor standards such as prevailing wages and benefits.

Underserved Communities

BIL: Encourages infrastructure projects to consider how they can improve access to jobs and economic opportunities in underserved communities, referencing a variety of corresponding executive orders on racial equity. (See Job Quality and Equity in Recent Executive Orders and Other Policies for more details.)

BIL: Encourages public participation in the planning and development of infrastructure projects so that these projects address the needs of the communities they serve.

BIL: Encourages participation of disadvantaged businesses (DBE) in projects.7

BIL/IRA: Allocates funding for projects that aim to address environmental burdens faced by disadvantaged communities. This could involve cleaning up polluted sites, investing in renewable energy in low-income areas, or improving access to clean water infrastructure. These projects can promote environmental justice by mitigating the negative environmental impacts that often disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) can help to codify this in development plans. 

IRA: Encourages programs to be designed in a way that specifically reaches out to and includes women, minorities, and veterans. No quotas or mandates are included.

Buy American

BIL: Includes Buy America, Build America (BABA) provisions that prioritize the use of American-made materials in infrastructure projects to support domestic manufacturing jobs and potentially create a multiplier effect within the U.S. economy. 

IRA: Includes Buy American requirements for manufacturing goods used in green energy projects, specifically on steel, manufactured products, and construction materials, as set out by the Federal Transit Administration.


BIL: Supports, directly or indirectly, initiatives to train workers for jobs in clean energy and energy-efficient building technologies. While there is not dedicated workforce funding in all of the grant programs, the guidance, partnerships or evaluation criteria associated with many grants encourage a commitment to workforce development. Some BIL grants do encourage collaboration with workforce development, emphasize the importance of on-the-job training and/or include certain workforce development activities as allowable uses of funds.

IRA: Allocates a portion of funds to community colleges and vocational training programs focused on clean energy.

Vendor Selection

BIL: Highlights the role that criteria considering equity impacts can play in selection. This could involve factors like creating jobs in low-income areas, promoting access to public transportation for low-income residents, or mitigating environmental impacts on disadvantaged communities.


BIL: Emphasizes the importance of data collection and reporting on how infrastructure investments impact equity and job quality. Requirements vary by grant but may include collecting information such as the number of jobs created in low-income communities, the percentage of local hires (local hire requirements), wage and benefits for workers (project labor agreements, CBAs) and demographics of businesses that benefit from the project (e.g., number of minority-owned businesses).

1. On August 29, 2023, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the prevailing wage and apprenticeship provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act found on the IRS website.

2. IRA Apprenticeship resources

3. IRA Apprenticeship resources

4. Highway funding includes new workforce provisions including use of apprenticeship; NEVI funding includes consideration for using apprenticeships; Low and No Emission grants included up to 5% use of funding for training which is encouraged to include apprenticeships, among others. 

5. Office of the Secretary of Transportation, “Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Department of Transportation’s National Infrastructure Investments (i.e., the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant Program) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’)”; U.S. Department of Transportation, “Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’)”; U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration, “FY 2022 Competitive Funding Opportunity: Low or No Emission Grant Program and the Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Competitive Program.”

6. 117th Congress Public Law 114 – 114, Sec. 6002(b)

7. BIL requires DOT, in cooperation with other federal agencies, to set overall DBE participation goals for federally-assisted infrastructure programs authorized by the law [23 U.S.C. § 106(g)(1)(C) & 49 U.S.C. § 5309(g)(1)(C)] and requires recipients to make good faith efforts to meet such requirements per 49 CFR § 23.361(b)

Other Resources