Our investment in The Families & Workers Fund

Kate Buchanan Kate Buchanan June 6, 2023

2 min read

Families and workers from Better Builder (FWF grantee) in Austin, Texas — Three women standing side-by-side, smiling and posing for group photo, wearing matching blue "We Build Texas" t-shirts and adhesive name-tags. The woman in the middle is leaning on a pair of crutches.

Supercharging the green infrastructure workforce  

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act, and other recent legislation puts more than $2 trillion to work to upgrade and transform America’s infrastructure and accelerate the transition to a clean energy future. These laws benefit both people and the planet and are estimated to create more than 12 million jobs over the next decade.

A historic opportunity

Some experts suggest that while meaningful labor and workforce standards are included in the legislation, much of the promise of good jobs, as well as equitable access to them, lies in choices around how funds are disbursed. According to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics, 75% of the jobs created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will likely be staffed by men, and 80% are expected to go to white workers. 

In addition, there are not currently enough trained workers ready to fill the roles that will be created. The infrastructure workforce is ready to retire—with 17 million workers expected to depart in the next decade. Compounded with a historically tight labor market and nearly two job openings per unemployed person, it’s crucial that action be taken. 

Why The Families and Workers Fund? 

The Autodesk Foundation is pleased to welcome The Families and Workers Fund to its Work & Prosperity portfolio. The Fund fosters large-scale collaboration and makes philanthropic investments to deliver good jobs and a more inclusive and accessible social safety net. We’re excited to support this work to help power infrastructure delivery and the clean energy transition—and to create more equitable opportunities for millions along the way. 

The Families and Workers Fund is addressing the lack of green infrastructure skilled labor by investing in organizations at the local and state level that can scale training, quality jobs, and related career pathways. The Fund also supports state and local workforce planning, implementation, and innovation to ensure government funding is invested in the most promising solutions and driving results. 

The Fund is differentiated in that it is able to track how philanthropic capital is leveraging government funding. For example, it provided a $1.6 million grant to the Better Builder Program, created for and by immigrant construction workers, in partnership with city government, to scale job quality standards on construction sites in Texas. The Fund demonstrates a new model for how city governments, workers, and businesses can together shape markets to deliver more equitable, economic mobility-boosting outcomes. 

As a result, more than $13 billion in construction deals in Texas are poised to adopt Better Builder’s good job standards, including a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-supported project that will green Austin’s metropolitan region’s transit system. Tens of thousands of workers and families will benefit from increased economic security, improved health and safety, and economic mobility.

Our collaboration 

The Families and Workers Fund will leverage Autodesk resources, industry expertise and talent, and industry networks to upskill the green infrastructure workforce.  

Headshot image of Rachel Korberg, Executive Director & Co-Founder, The Families and Workers Fund.

“We are thrilled to be supported by the Autodesk Foundation. Autodesk’s deep expertise in technology and talent will help our partners and us to make clean energy and infrastructure careers more widely accessible and spur greater economic mobility and opportunity for all.”

— Rachel Korberg, Executive Director & Co-Founder, The Families and Workers Fund

The Families and Workers Fund will play a critical role in helping to ensure that billions of dollars in government funding for a clean energy future puts people and equity at the center.

Learn more about The Families and Workers Fund’s unique approach to building a more equitable economy that uplifts all.