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ACT Statement on Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

On Monday, President Biden signed into law a historic, bipartisan infrastructure bill signaling the potential for an economic revitalization, focused on creating workforce opportunities for all Americans in the face of ongoing economic and societal transformation. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aims to provide resources that can increase sustainable and equitable economic growth for Americans for years to come.

With 55 million students learning at home due to abrupt and widespread school closures and disrupted learning environments during 2020 and 2021, the immediate and critical need for investment in broadband infrastructure became more acute and urgent. In fact, ACT survey research found that students experienced technological inequities during the pandemic and that students who would be the first in their families to go to college, students from rural communities, and Latinx and Black students were more likely to report that their internet connection was unpredictable or terrible, exacerbating the impacts of disrupted learning.

This bipartisan action on infrastructure will begin to address the digital divide in communities across the country in a meaningful way by investing in the delivery of high-speed internet where there is currently little to none. This deliberate investment is particularly encouraging for rural students throughout the nation who have said that access to connectivity and devices is necessary to support their learning success. It is a crucial first step in connecting students and job-seekers — who lacked access to high-quality internet — to more equitable opportunities in learning and work and skill development opportunities.

Last year, ACT outlined in its “education policy wish list” for the then-incoming Biden-Harris administration and secretary of education that addressing the digital divide was a critical policy area for federal leadership. We are optimistic about the implications of this historic legislation to strengthen our communities, and remain engaged and eager to work alongside the president, members of Congress from both parties, advocacy partners, and our collaborators across the nation in states and school districts to continue to deliver on the promise of education and workplace success for all.