Commerce Department Releases First NOFO from the CHIPS and Science Act
Today, the U.S. Commerce Department released the first notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for some of the more than $50 billion available pursuant to the SWACCA-supported CHIPS and Science Act for projects to construct, expand, or modernize commercial facilities for producing semiconductors in the United States.
Of particular interest to SWACCA, consistent with the language we advocated for inclusion in the CHIPS and Science Act, today’s NOFO requires that all laborers and mechanics employed by an awardee, subrecipients, contractors, or subcontractors in the performance of construction, alteration, or repair work funded in whole or in part by CHIPS Act funding must be paid the Davis-Bacon prevailing wages as determined by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. In addition, the NOFO requires a detailed description from awardees on the steps that will be taken by the applicant and their construction partners to recruit, hire, train, and retain a diverse and skilled construction workforce. As part of this plan, applicants shall describe their approach to worker recruitment and retention, including efforts to include women and other economically disadvantaged individuals in the construction industry; a strategy for creating good jobs; and engagement with community partners such as labor unions, workforce development organizations, and others.
Finally, while the NOFO does not require a project labor agreement (PLA), it does “strongly encourage” applicants to use PLAs. The NOFO specifies that applicants with PLAs “will be likely to produce a construction workforce plan that meets the . . . criteria” for funding under the NOFO. Applicants who do not commit to using a PLA will be required to submit workforce continuity plans and satisfy the Commerce Department that they have taken other measures to reduce the risk of delays in project delivery.
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