The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Its Impact on Southwestern Pennsylvania

By Stephon Burton


Throughout the summer and fall of 2021, President Biden has been attempting to enact a vital piece of legislation, The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This Act is a staple in his agenda and could revitalize the nation’s economy if things work according to his plan.

This specific piece of legislation looking to be passed is called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This is a staple of President Biden’s agenda, dubbed the “Build Back Better” plan, and aims to create jobs, cut taxes, and lower costs for working families[1]. This article will focus on the Act’s emphasis on job creation and its potential impact on western Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.

Workforce Training

The job portion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aims to accomplish a few things. First, it seeks to introduce workforce training. This could be done in a multitude of ways, but President Biden has made it clear that he wants to increase registered apprenticeships. In addition to increasing registered apprenticeships, his administration aims to increase employment in vital U.S. economy sectors such as construction and healthcare, particularly homecare. Per the White House, countless jobs have been going unfilled in this sector, and as an op-ed in Newsweek points out, this presents the option to elevate home healthcare workers from minimum wage employees to unionized jobs[2]. This will be especially important in southwestern Pennsylvania, where schools such as Duquesne University produce a lot of healthcare workers in all areas of health and medicine. By providing livable wages and more satisfactory working conditions, more workers would be attracted to such fields and also more likely to stay in these fields.


As it pertains to the construction industry, the Act also looks to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure to support the growing popularity of electric vehicles. Revitalizing the country’s infrastructure to support electric vehicles also aids directly to improving environmental quality. This is especially true as it pertains to air quality, something the Pittsburgh region is known for not having the best of. Given Pittsburgh’s history as a coal mine region and current use for steel production, the air quality has been subpar, and it still is[3]. Improving the infrastructure aids directly to Biden’s Build Back Better agenda by creating countless jobs in the construction industry to install more electric vehicle charging stations. Pittsburgh stands to be at the forefront of this push as Pittsburgh is also a tech hub-with the experimentation of self-driving cars, and the city-wide implementation of more charging stations, Pittsburgh will likely look to enhance its infrastructure sooner rather than later, bringing a lot of construction jobs to the region. For construction companies, the push for infrastructure revitalization potentially means larger contracts, more jobs, and ultimately an increase in revenue.

Clean Energy

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also emphasizes the creation of clean energy jobs, jobs in renewable energy industries such as solar or wind power[4]. The legislation invests $21 billion in environmental remediation, making the largest investment in addressing the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities and neighborhoods in American history, creating union jobs offering “livable wages” in hard-hit energy communities and advancing economic and environmental justice[5]. One of the main points of emphasis under the creation of clean energy jobs is cleaning superfund sites. “Superfund site” is a colloquial term used in place of a site targeted by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). This Act allows the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to clean up sites contaminated by pollutants and other contaminants such as hazardous waste that have been dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise mismanaged. These toxic sites have catastrophic impacts on the health of those living nearby. This Act allows the government to devote resources to mitigating the harm done by removing waste and cleaning up the site’s general area. In doing so, this will create contracting jobs. This will create jobs as the EPA will contract out the cleanup work. This is of special relevance to the general Pittsburgh area because there are four Superfund sites in Allegheny County alone. This Act will employ many while mitigating the environmental harm these highly pollutive sites have created[6].

This Act is still going through the legislative process[ST6] , and is awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives. It is yet to be seen if the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be passed. but it does have the potential to bring jobs to southwestern Pennsylvania and boost the region’s economy should it be passed.

[1] The Build Back Better Agenda, The White House (2021), (last visited Sep 30, 2021). 

[2] Mary Kay Henry, The build back better plan is a win for America’s Home Care Workers: Opinion Newsweek (2021), (last visited Sep 30, 2021). 

[3] David Smith, Clean Air Council, Pittsburgh Air Pollution (2021),> (last visited Oct 7, 2021].

[4] Fact sheet: Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and build back better agenda present Bright Future for solar power, good jobs, and more affordable energy, The White House (2021), (last visited Oct 7, 2021). 

[5] Updated fact sheet: Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, The White House (2021), (last visited Sep 30, 2021). 

[6] Search for Superfund Sites Where You Live, EPA, (last visited Sep 30, 2021). 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.