Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su will travel to Baltimore Monday to announce new public and private investments in the city, including $5 million from Amtrak to recruit and train Baltimore residents to work on the Frederick Douglass Tunnel rail project, the White House said. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Biden administration officials will travel to Baltimore Monday to announce the latest Workforce Hub initiative that will provide job training and career development in an effort to expand the nation's technological workforce.
White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su will announce new public and private investments in the city, including $5 million from Amtrak to recruit and train Baltimore residents to work on the Frederick Douglass Tunnel rail project, the White House said in a statement.
The funds, provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, are part of a broader federal strategy to fill high-tech manufacturing positions and big-budget infrastructure jobs created under President Joe Biden's legislative agenda.
The investment in Baltimore is intended to support community-based partnerships with unions and local trade organizations to prepare prospective employees for career-level jobs, while extending child care and transportation benefits to enrollees so they can attend training worry-free.
The funds will also be used to implement career and technical education in Baltimore City Public Schools, and create a job center that will engage with people from disadvantaged communities to recruit new workers for future transit projects in the region.
Under a labor agreement between Amtrak and the Baltimore-D.C. Building Trades Council, at least 50% of all apprentice hours and at least 20% of all seats in the program will go to workers from Baltimore.
As many as nine infrastructure projects are planned throughout Maryland in the coming months that will bring an additional 11,000 jobs to the state.
Previously, Biden allocated $84 million for the Mid-Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and the Port of Baltimore, $15 million for high-speed Internet, and $7 million for accessibility upgrades at the Martin Airport MARC train station, with the investments intended to generate a wide variety of skilled job opportunities.
Last Monday, Biden announced an "historic investment" of $16 billion in rail improvements along the country's heaviest-used passenger rail lines, known as the Northeast Corridor, as part of his ongoing infrastructure plan.
He also announced $4.7 billion in new federal funding to build the Douglass tunnel, which will replace the 150-year-old Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel while aiming to improve traffic flows along the corridor.
With the latest injection of cash, Baltimore was set to receive an additional $30 million to support a slate of local construction projects over the next two years, the White House said.
The Maryland Department of Transportation has been charged with overseeing the assessments on any project worth more than $20 million to ensure strict distribution of the funds.
Since Biden took office, the government has announced $9.6 billion for projects to upgrade transportation, clean energy, high-speed Internet access, and clean water availability across Maryland, while designating Baltimore as one of five "Workforce Hubs" across the nation along with Columbus, Ohio., and Phoenix, as well as Pittsburgh and Augusta, Ga., where first lady Jill Biden launched the effort on Nov. 8.
Communities designated as Workforce Hubs will aim to drive advanced job growth nationwide, with public and private commitments to develop technological work skills through apprenticeships and education programs, while providing job support services to millions of prospective job holders.
Announced in May, the program emphasizes the hiring of women, students, people of color, and other groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in emerging technological fields.
The hubs will partner with local technical schools and community colleges on a broad range of projects that aim to boost the number of skilled workers in each region, as well as the number of good quality jobs available to them after they complete training.