This summer, employers and job seekers in the engineering and construction industries were left to speculate whether or not a transformative infrastructure bill would survive prolonged debates in a divided Congress. On November 15, President Biden officially signed the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act into law, paving the way for new public works projects nationwide and a much needed influx of engineering and construction jobs. 

Now that the dust has settled on the heated political back-and-forth regarding the specifics of the bill, lingering questions remain. With an investment of $1 trillion and promises to upgrade roads, bridges, transit systems and more, what does the future hold for the companies and skilled workers needed to get these jobs done?

Here’s the short and long-term outlook for engineering and construction jobs now that the infrastructure bill has been signed into law: 

Short-Term Impact

There’s a reason the term “infrastructure week” has become a bit of a punchline in recent years; industry insider have long recognized the upgrades required for the nation’s critical structures, even as law makers have neglected these alerts. In a time when supply chain issues threaten to exacerbate looming inflation woes and the Great Resignation shakes the foundation of the U.S. workforce, Americans are understandably hoping to see an immediate impact from the new bill. In some cases, this will be true. 

The speed with which money is released comes down to the difference between existing formula funding and competitive grant programs. Projects that fall under the former designation can expect investments within six months. For example, CNN reports that state departments of transportation can expect roughly one-third more in highway funding for maintenance and repair than the year before. Other areas that can see immediate impacts include transit and clean water projects, bridges and airports.

What about those areas tied to competitive grants?

Long-Term Impact

While there will be some immediate benefits, it seems that the longest lasting impacts will take some time. More than $100 billion is slated to be allocated to projects through competitive grant programs. To get these projects rolling, criteria for grants will need to be set, calls for applications sent out and a review process will need to take place at the state and local levels before any funds can be dispersed. However, once this undertaking is complete, the effects have the potential to be monumental.Areas that stand to be impacted by this delayed funding including ambitious rail and port projects. 

The American Council of Engineering Companies has noted that analysis of the bill predicts the creation of 82,000 engineering jobs, growing the industry from $352 billion this year to $416 billion by 2026. Looking even further ahead, research from S&P global has the bill on track to create a total of 883,600 jobs by 2030. 

Now and Later

Ultimately, all areas of the industry are poised to see an increase in engineering and construction jobs opportunities. However, the timing of when exactly that impact will be felt is yet to be determined at the federal, state and local levels. Now that the blueprint has been signed, it’s time for the real work to begin. 

Do you have questions on what the infrastructure bill means for your workforce? Connect with Medix Engineering + Construction for expert insights and the talent you need to lead and deliver constriction, environmental and engineering projects.