Brookings: US Lags In Confronting Looming Infrastructure Workforce Shortage

Route Fifty reports, the US needs to step up its preparation for the “silver tsunami” that’s facing infrastructure operators, according to a new Brookings Institution report. The federal government projects that 1.7 million people will exit their careers in the infrastructure sector each year through 2031. “That means 17 million infrastructure workers will need to be replaced over the next decade,” the report states, while noting that that number of replacements is greater than the size of the entire infrastructure maintenance workforce in 2021. Retirements aren’t the sole cause of the looming employee shortage, Brookings finds. A perception that working on infrastructure is “dirty and dangerous” is causing workers to leave construction, transportation and other fields in increasing numbers, and it’s also behind young peoples’ lack of interest in sector employment. Brookings urges public employers and federal grant makers to increase their attention to workforce development efforts.