Job Quality and Equity in Recent Executive Orders and Other Policies
June 14, 2024

The administration has issued a variety of policies, guidance documents, initiatives and other materials indicating a commitment to serving diverse individuals and advancing good jobs across all industries. Cities should use these as a reference as they develop proposals or planning documents for infrastructure grants. Key themes are:

  • Applying an equity lens to internal processes, procedures, hiring practices and procurements
  • Importance of data collection and disaggregation to understand community needs
  • Authentic community engagement to provide space for voice and choice
  • Implementation or expansion of protections or incentives to advance equity and good jobs
  • Focus on eliminating barriers to facilitate access to services by all individuals
Order/Policy Job Quality Equity

Good Jobs Initiative 

(Jan 2020)

Launched by the Department of Labor, supported by the Department of Commerce

  • Empowering workers with information about their rights, including forming unions.
  • Encouraging employers to create good jobs with career paths.
  • Collaborating across government agencies to promote job quality standards and access to good jobs.
  • Prioritizes providing resources and opportunities to groups that have historically faced barriers in the job market.
  • Includes equipping workers with information about their rights such as minimum wage, safe working conditions, and the right to form unions.
  • Aims to eliminate discrimination and create a level playing field for all job seekers through work with employers.

Executive Order 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government

(Jan 20, 2021)

  • Indirect implications for job quality as increased access to programs and supports could improve job training or placement for underserved communities.
  • Prioritizes delivering resources and benefits fairly to underserved communities.
  • Requires federal agencies to identify and address racial inequities within their existing programs and services.
  • Emphasizes ensuring fair access to government benefits and opportunities.

Executive Order 13988: Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation

(Jan 20, 2021)

  • Indirectly supports safety and security tenets of good jobs by ensuring people are treated with dignity and respect, and can live and work free from fear of discrimination based on who they are or who they love.
  • Expands anti-discrimination protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments, the Fair Housing Act, and the Immigration and Nationality Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Addresses discrimination in areas like access to housing, education, and federal programs.

Executive Order 14008: On Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad

(Jan 27, 2021)

  • Includes training and workforce development as a core focus area.
  • Cross-agency approach to transforming hundreds of programs and ultimately jobs to ensure disadvantaged communities benefit from new and existing federal investments.
  • Launched the Justice 40 initiative.
  • Uses a Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) to pinpoint areas facing environmental burdens and lacking access to resources.

Justice 40 Initiative

(Jan 27, 2021)

  • Indirectly promotes good jobs through investments in clean energy, infrastructure projects, and workforce development.
  • Focused on environmental and economic justice for disadvantaged communities.
  • Includes a Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) to identify disadvantaged communities across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

American Rescue Plan

(Mar 11, 2021)

  • Directly supported businesses in retaining workers as well as providing supportive services and emergency supports to many individuals.
  • Intended to address racial and economic disparities caused by the pandemic through targeted investment, incentives and access to capital.

Executive Order 14025: Worker Organizing and Empowerment

(May 20, 2021)

  • Specifically exploring changes or additional protections needed for historically weak labor laws, for marginalized workers, including women and people of color, and industries facing significant changes.
  • Addresses the importance of worker power.
  • Established a task force to identify ways the federal government could support worker organizing by reviewing existing federal policies, practices, and programs that might hinder or support it.
  • Protects the right of workers to form unions and bargain collectively.

Executive Order 14031: Advancing Equity, Justice and Opportunities for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

(May 28, 2021)

  • Indirectly supports safety and security principles by ensuring people are treated with dignity and respect, and can live and work free from fear of discrimination based on who they are or who they love.
  • Serves as a central coordinating body for federal agencies to address the specific needs of AA and NHPI communities.
  • Aims to eliminate systemic barriers faced by AA and NHPI communities that hinder their access to opportunities in areas like education, housing, healthcare, and economic development.
  • Directs federal agencies to work together to develop and implement policies, programs, and initiatives that address these challenges.
  • Emphasizes the importance of data collection to improve understanding of the specific needs and experiences of diverse AA and NHPI communities.
  • Seeks to engage with AA and NHPI communities to ensure their voices are heard in the policymaking process.

Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce

(Jun 25, 2021)

  • Emphasizes creating increased opportunities for qualified individuals from underserved communities to compete for federal jobs.
  • Focus on creating a diverse and inclusive federal workforce.
  • Agencies must develop and implement a plan to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the federal workforce.

Executive Order 14025: Ensuring Quality Jobs for Service Workers on Federal Contracts 

(Nov 18, 2021)

  • Such requirements promote job security and potentially better wages as experienced workers retain their positions.
  • Requires that when a federal service contract transitions to a new contractor, the new contractor must offer jobs to qualified employees from the previous company. 

Executive Order:14063: Use of Project Labor Agreements For Federal Construction Projects 

(Feb 4, 2022)

  • Federal agencies must incorporate PLAs into large construction contracts in order to foster communication, protect workers and reduce potential labor disruptions.
  • PLAs will establish clear communication mechanisms and work requirements for all individuals.

Permitting Action Plan

(May 11, 2022)

  • Indirectly supports job quality by emphasizing the importance of meaningful engagement with tribal communities to ensure they benefit from investments.
  • Encourages early and meaningful engagement with Tribal Nations, states, territories, and local communities, which can help ensure infrastructure projects benefit all residents.
  • Includes consideration of potential environmental impacts on disadvantaged communities.

Executive Order 14091: Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities

(Feb 16, 2023)

  • Targets specific barriers faced by underserved communities, such as limited access to federal resources, high-paying jobs, and opportunities for participation.
  • Mandates that agencies provide technical assistance, support creation of high-paying union jobs, and engage rural community leaders. This aims to ensure rural areas benefit from federal programs.
  • Integrates equity considerations into the planning and decision-making processes of nearly all federal agencies. 
  • Provides definitions for key terms related to equity, including equitable development, community wealth building, and algorithmic discrimination. 
  • Encourages agencies to collect data on race, ethnicity, and other factors to assess program effectiveness and identify areas for improvement.
  • Launched equity action plans that serve as roadmaps to address the barriers and discrimination that underserved communities face.

Executive Order 14096: Revitalizing our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All”

(Apr 21, 2023)

  • Indirectly supports job quality by emphasizing the importance of meaningful engagement with underserved communities to understand their environmental concerns and priorities.
  • Strengthens the federal government’s commitment to environmental justice, which ensures all people have a right to clean air, water, and a healthy environment, regardless of race, income, or location.
  • Directs all federal agencies to consider environmental justice in their decision-making processes and programs. 
  • Strengthens enforcement of existing environmental laws and regulations to protect communities disproportionately burdened by pollution.
  • Builds on the existing Justice40 Initiative.

Executive Order 14039: Scaling and Expanding the Use of Registered Apprenticeships in Industries and the Federal Government and Promoting Labor-Management Forums

(Mar 6, 2024)

  • Apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships are proven models for pathways to good jobs through a blend of onsite and classroom training. 
  • Increase access to registered apprenticeship programs across various industries.
  • Encourage participation in the federal government by making apprenticeships more accessible.
  • Foster collaboration between labor unions and management to improve these programs.

Other Resources