Infrastructure is more than roads and bridges, safe and decent housing and neighborhoods.
Infrastructure is affordable health care and a public health workforce that responds to health needs. Infrastructure is a solid educational system that includes quality child care. ESSENTIAL WORKERS are infrastructure.
The White House has recognized the need to invest in a human capital infrastructure of direct care workers, public and community health workers, and child care and early education workers as the “workforce behind the workforce” and an essential workforce and part of the economy in its own right. Together, the proposed investments would create over 3 million new jobs through a commitment of $1 trillion in funding over the next decade, compensate workers to reflect their value, and provide them with recognition and rights as essential to economic and social prosperity.
See resource section for COMPILATION of proposals for an overview of different elements in the White House Plans and in Congressional legislation.
COVID-19 has emphasized how crucial and essential workers providing direct care, child care, and public and community health services are to society. There is strong and broad-based public support for public investments in this workforce. In addition, in terms of jobs, employment self-sufficiency, and resultant community economic activity, these investments produce high public as well as private returns of investment.
To finance these investments, the White House proposes select tax provisions on large profitable corporations and on individuals making more than $1 million per year (three-tenths of one percent of Americans). These provisions are more controversial but their impacts need to be weighed against those of the investments they finance. It is critical to recognize the benefits of investing in this workforce not only in its benefits to the tens of millions of Americans served, but also for its own impacts upon the economy.
See resource section for BLOG on Financing the Infrastructure Our Future Needs.
Place matters. For children, social determinants of health are all about the home and neighborhood environment and what is available to them for their protection and growth. One aspect of the White House’s infrastructure proposals is to build a public and community health workforce within high vulnerability and often historically marginalized communities – with a particular focus on building a community-based public health workforce (see also the 20/20 webpage – No Place Like Home).
This is critical to addressing issues of historical and systemic racism. The CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), for instance, shows that 39 percent of all BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) children live in the highest SVI neighborhoods, compared with 3 percent of White, nonhispanic children. Investments in a public and community health infrastructure – robust and well-focused – can serve multiple roles in improving the well-being and opportunities for success of the nation’s diverse child population.
See Resource Section for Statistical Note on Highest SVI Neighborhoods and See “No Place Like Home” webpage for further resources on community health workers and child development.