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BUILD BACK BETTER PROVISIONS FOR WORKERS AND FAMILIES ARE ESSENTIAL FOR APPALACHIA
The climate infrastructure, jobs, and workforce support package includes funding for climate infrastructure, a blue-collar union jobs bonanza, and a revitalized Civilian Conservation Corps with opportunity for all
Ohio River Valley — This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act — a once-in-a-generation plan to respond to the climate crisis while repairing our nation’s infrastructure, cleaning up dangerous pollution, and jumpstarting a clean energy future. Build Back Better is a climate infrastructure, jobs, and workforce support package that will build local wealth and create good union jobs throughout Appalachia.
“Build Back Better is an unprecedented and transformative opportunity to better the lives of all Americans,” said Amanda Woodrum, senior researcher with Policy Matters and co-executive director of ReImagine Appalachia. “Our region has long powered the economic prosperity of this nation, yet many former steel and coal communities have been left behind. Now, we can create good jobs in 21st Century industries for all Appalachians – of every color, creed and background. And, we can promote a better future for generations to come by rebuilding infrastructure and addressing fires and floods caused by damage to our climate.”
The Build Back Better plan will make the largest investment in the clean energy economy ever. It will transform buildings, transportation, industry, electricity production and transmission, and agriculture. It will also create a new Civilian Climate Corps, creating more than 300,000 union jobs with workforce development in conserving public lands.
“The new CCC will enlist a diverse generation of Appalachians in conserving our public lands, bolstering community resilience, and addressing changing climate, all while putting good-paying union jobs within reach. The potential benefits of this new program are enormous, but we are hopeful the Senate will ensure that participants in this program receive a living wage ,” said Annie Regan, ReImagine Appalachia Coordinator and Senior Program Manager at PennFuture.
Build Back Better contains essential supports for working families – these historic investments would address longstanding needs that are holding Appalachian workers back – including lack of child care, health and food insecurity, and lack of good pay for critical jobs like our child care and home health workforces.
“These worker supports are especially important for women workers, who are often forced to choose between their families and their jobs,” said Dana Kuhnline, Campaign Manager for ReImagine Appalachia. “The Build Back Better Act would lighten the burden for working families by cutting child care costs, delivering free preschool and extending the Child Tax Credit.”
Many of the specific benefits that Appalachian families would see from this bill are outlined in this blog, including an investment in the Civilian Climate Corps and Clean Manufacturing Tax Credits. The bill would put the nation on track to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 and makes significant investments to communities impacted by the downturn of the coal industry.
Said Stephen Herzenberg, co-director of ReImagine Appalachia and executive director of Keystone Research Center, “We can’t underestimate the transformative potential of this ambitious, historic legislation. From increasing access to childcare and making broadband more affordable, to creating good clean economy blue collar jobs while cutting household energy costs this bill is going to have a real impact on everyday lives, while providing the resources communities need to jump start our economy and prepare for the 21st Century.”
Reimagine Appalachia is a coalition of labor, policy experts and community leaders who are making sure that everyone who lives here can have a good job and can put down roots for the future. For months, the coalition has been pushing Congress to pass major funding packages that create jobs, rebuild infrastructure, and address fires and floods caused by damage to the climate.