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USDOT Announces Two New Actions to Advance Economic Opportunity for Disadvantaged Workers and Businesses

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USDOT Announces Two New Actions to Advance Economic Opportunity for Disadvantaged Workers and Businesses

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced earlier this week new resources from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that will create economic opportunities and open the door to building generational wealth for disadvantaged entrepreneurs and workers in communities across the country.

These resources are:

  • New guidance to support State investment in workforce development, training and education in order to meet the demand generated by President Biden’s investment in rebuilding our infrastructure, and
  • $10 million to support small businesses owned by minorities, women, and other socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, through FHWA’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Funding.

“It’s critical that the historic infrastructure investments we are making reach the places and people who need them the most,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “The resources announced today help ensure that a fair share of the contracts and investments go to historically disadvantaged workers, businesses, and communities so they can build generational wealth.”

“To realize the potential of President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure package we must both provide disadvantaged businesses a chance to grow and train a workforce that meets tomorrow’s challenges,” said Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt. “The historic funding being provided for workforce development, training and education activities, coupled with the guidance we’re announcing today, will help provide economic opportunities to millions of talented people who will help deliver bridge, road and highway projects that will make travel safer and more efficient for communities across this country in the generation to come.”

See related articles: FHWA Awards Six Tribal Technical Assistance Programs to Support Native American Communities’ Access to Improve Safety and Economic Opportunity, FHWA Announces $45.7 Million Grant to Alaska’s Native Village of Eyak to Improve Multi-Modal Transportation Access to Oil Spill Response Facility

Workforce Development Guidance

Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, workforce development-related activities are funded at 100% federal share, and FHWA’s new guidance provides clarity about which Federal-aid formula funds can be used by State DOTs and U.S. territories to support workforce development including training, education, and registered apprenticeship.

Additionally, the President’s infrastructure package also expands the types of activities eligible to be paid for using formula funding to include programs that provide recruiting, counseling, transportation, remedial training, and childcare services; education-related activities such as commercial driver license training, work-study and scholarship programs; and internships and skills development training programs.

DBE Supportive Services (DBE/SS) Funding Allocation

FHWA also announced the allocation of $10 million in Fiscal Year 2022 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/Supportive Services (DBE/SS) program funding to 47 State DOTs, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In total, the infrastructure law provides $50 million in funding for the DBE/SS program through 2026. The funding allows participating states to provide training and business development services to eligible small businesses to improve their ability to compete as prime and subcontractors on federally assisted contracts.

FHWA distributes DBE/SS funds each year based on statements of work submitted by State DOTs, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories, and using an administrative formula to determine funding for each recipient. This year, FHWA received submissions from a total of 47 States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Six states and territories declined funding, which was redistributed among the remaining recipients using the same administrative formula.

These actions support goals outlined in US DOT’s Equity Action Plan.

For more information, please see the Department’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program web page. Funding amounts for Fiscal Year 2022 are as follows:

StateAward Amount
Alabama$198,666
Alaska$134,102
Arizona$191,886
Arkansas$138,199
California$929,389
Colorado$143,997
Connecticut$134,315
Delaware$50,717
District of Columbia$48,308
Florida$483,757
Georgia$332,311
Hawaii$50,711
Idaho$80,045
Illinois$365,074
Indiana$247,396
Iowa$131,603
Kansas$103,102
Kentucky$175,012
Louisiana$184,404
Maine$54,590
Maryland$159,078
Massachusetts$160,687
Michigan$272,499
Minnesota$171,913
Mississippi$129,642
Missouri$245,849
Montana$111,233
Nebraska$80,803
Nevada$99,394
New Hampshire$49,729
New Jersey$258,843
New Mexico$100,425
New York$429,524
North Dakota$70,570
Ohio$344,663
Oklahoma$167,429
Oregon$133,703
Pennsylvania$420,034
Puerto Rico$43,264
Rhode Island$63,149
South Carolina$176,316
South Dakota$79,039
Tennessee$220,337
Texas$987,246
Vermont$59,198
Virginia$263,651
Virgin Island$30,764
Washington$178,397
West Virginia$117,939
Wisconsin$197,097
TOTAL$10,000,000

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

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