past event
Employment and Jobs

Building Good Jobs into America’s Infrastructure Investments

Audio (MP3)

To download, click here.

About this Event

Investments to renew our nation’s infrastructure offer many possible benefits to our economy and our society. One of the most often cited benefits is that these investments will create good jobs. Indeed many policymakers see infrastructure investments as among the most promising of policy options to respond to clear concern about jobs expressed by their constituents. Rebuilding America’s crumbling roads, rails, bridges, buildings, power plants, storm water and sewer systems, and more will require a lot of skilled work. And investments in transportation and other infrastructure help many more working people be able to reliably get to work.

In communities across the country, much has been learned about how to invest in infrastructure projects in ways that support economic development goals and help people in the community connect to good jobs. In this panel, hosted by the Economic Opportunities Program, speakers discuss the opportunities for work created by infrastructure projects as well as the benefits that renewed infrastructure offer for both workers and business. Panelists share examples from companies and projects around the country, highlighting the business case for investing in workers, training, and safety, not only to benefit workers, but also to improve company operations and America’s critical physical assets.


Featured Speakers


Denise Fairchild @ThisIsDGF
President & CEO, Emerald Cities Collaborative @EmeraldCities

Denise Fairchild, PhD, is the inaugural President of Emerald Cities. She has dedicated over 30 years to strengthening housing, jobs, businesses and economic opportunities for low-income residents and communities of color domestically and internationally. In 1995, Dr. Fairchild founded the Community and Economic Development (CED) Department at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. She helped launch the Regional Economic Development Institute (REDI), an initiative of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to provide inner city residents with career and technical education for high growth/high demand jobs in the LA region. From 1989-1994, Dr. Fairchild directed the LA office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). She recently served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s special advisor for South LA Investments. She has a Master’s degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Doctorate degree in Urban Planning from UCLA.


Charles “Rick” Moore @Rick617
Vice President, Director Community Relations, Swinerton Incorporated @swinerton

As Director of Community Relations, Rick’s mission is to identify, develop, and integrate competent and reliable emerging subcontractor companies into the construction plans for projects. Rick guides minority, women, and veteran–run companies through the requirements of major projects and how to provide services in a professional and profitable manner, thus building a strong business foundation. He also educates and guides Swinerton and client staff in Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action issues, legal requirements, and compliance documentation. Rick has been with Swinerton, Inc. for 35 years and holds Master Compliance Administrator certifications from Florida Atlantic University and Morgan State University.


Dana Redd @DanaRedd
Mayor, Camden, New Jersey @CityofCamdenGov

Mayor Dana Redd is a proven and experienced public servant with over 20 years of service in the public sector. She has worked in various positions from local government to the New Jersey State Senate. Mayor Redd is a recognized leader and, across her career, has led successful efforts to improve jobs, education, public housing, community support services, homeless services, policing and public safety, and more. Mayor Redd is an active member of the Rutgers-Camden Board of Directors, the Joint Board of Governors for Rowan-Rutgers University, and the Co-Chairman of Cooper’s Ferry Board of Directors. Mayor Redd is a graduate of Rutgers: The State University with a B.S. degree in Business Studies. She also has received her M.A. degree in Human Services Administration from Lincoln University.


Adie Tomer @AdieTomer
Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institute @BrookingsMetro

Adie Tomer is a fellow at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program and a member of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative. His work focuses on metropolitan infrastructure usage patterns, including personal and freight transportation, and the intersections between infrastructure and technological development. Prior to work at Brookings, Adie was a Senior Analyst at the New York County District Attorney’s Office where he advised senior executives on policy-relevant matters. He holds a master’s in Public Policy from American University and a B.A. from the University of Florida.



Lori Aratani @LoriAra
Reporter, The Washington Post @WashingtonPost

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team. Prior to her current position at the Post, Lori was a staff writer for San Jose Mercury News. She grew up in California and received a B.S. in journalism from Boston University, where she learned the real meaning of cold weather.


Related Resources

Apprenticeship: Completion and Cancellation in the Building Trades

A Solid Foundation: Key Capacities of Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Programs

Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Interviews with Field Leaders

Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Results from a National Survey

Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Programs: Program Briefs

Houston, Texas: Developing Prototypes for Workforce Development Strategies

Prince George’s County, Maryland: Investing in Infrastructure, Local Businesses, and Jobs

Reinventing Low Wage Work: A Discussion on the Workforce in Residential Construction


This event is part of the Working in America series, an ongoing discussion series hosted by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program that highlights an array of critical issues affecting low- and moderate-income workers in the United States and ideas for improving and expanding economic opportunities for working people. For more information, visit




Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #talkgoodjobs.

Event information
Tue Mar 21, 2017
12:00pm - 1:30pm GMT+0000
The Aspen Institute
One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036