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Justice40 and Community Benefits Plans
TRC provides comprehensive Community Benefits Plans (CBPs) support for Justice40-covered projects. High quality CBPs are critical in obtaining certain highly sought after federal grants. As a trusted partner, we offer end-to-end solutions that can include concept paper and CBP development, plan implementation and tracking of complex benefits.
Through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Congress has allocated billions of dollars to modernize infrastructure and invest in new and exciting technologies. Federal funding will be released through a series of grants, many of which will have a Justice40 component. The Justice40 Initiative requires a minimum of 40 percent of the “overall benefits” of certain federally funded programs flow to disadvantaged communities (DACs). DACs are Census tracts that have been identified through the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST).
CBPs typically represent 20 percent of the overall scoring for competitive grant applications that fall under Justice40. Therefore, the CBP is vital to the success of the proposal. All Justice40 requirements should be addressed by outlining the anticipated roadmap for stakeholder identification and engagement, along with specific advantages, such as jobs, tax revenues, environmental benefits and infrastructure improvements, that a DAC can anticipate through the proposed project.
Example Roadmap for Justice40 Funded Projects
TRC’s Winning Approach to CBPs
CBPs are highly complex and require a wide range of expertise. Our CBPs are thorough and leverage our diverse array of subject matter experts and previous experience with developing CBPs. This experience covers a variety of projects in rural and urban communities across the U.S.
The development of CBPs takes place during a project’s application process and provides a roadmap for ensuring communities, workers, suppliers and other stakeholders have opportunities for meaningful engagement. A comprehensive CBP includes the following components:
- Targeted Community Assessment
- Clear benefits
- Measurable impacts
- Mapping and Modeling
- Stakeholder Engagement
We have created specific tools and skillsets for managing each of the components listed above. Regular collaboration across disciplines also facilitates the completion of other required submittals, such as an Environmental Considerations Summary.
Targeted Community Assessment
The grant application reviewer wants to see that the applicant has conducted a preliminary needs assessment of the region and has a clear understanding of the area’s needs and expectations, and how the proposed project will clearly address them. A community assessment involves gathering data, such as demographic information, statistics on poverty or health and information on existing programs or services.
A compelling CBP clearly identifies project benefits, such as high-quality jobs and an inclusive and diverse workforce, and how these benefits will accrue to disadvantaged communities with minimized or mitigated negative impacts. Strategies, milestones and timelines ensure that goals are actionable and meaningful.
Certain projects and grant applications benefit from a comprehensive review of local workforce readiness, project workforce skills requirements and overall economic impact. Evaluating a project’s impact, specifically through Economic Impact Analysis, allows a CBP to tell the story of positive effects a project or facility can have on the local economy. Economic Impact Analysis provides insight to guide workforce development plans and quantify direct, indirect and induced project impacts. This way, a client can confidently say how much money developing client’s project will inject into a community.
Mapping and Modeling
TRC’s AnalyzEJ tool allows for swift and thorough analysis of study areas for presence of DACs and production of figures creating a more impactful CBP.
AnalyzEJ is an ESRI-based mapping tool that incorporates custom layers designed to support Justice40 and CBP development. This tool identifies and assesses existing community demographics and burdens, which can be linked to the goals of the funding opportunity. AnalyzEJ is incredibly powerful, allowing TRC to develop CBPs accurately and
TRC’s in-depth research facilitates connections with local labor groups, concerned citizens groups, and other key community members. TRC is dedicated to ensuring, that as the project progresses, there is a roadmap for ensuring the client knows the community and that the community knows the client. Ultimately, the community’s involvement will build trust and support for the project among members, ensuring its success. By incorporating Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound (SMART) goals, CBPs provide opportunities for accountability and transparency.
Implementation and Tracking
Work does not stop with the development of the CBP. TRC supports the critical CBP implementation to help project teams build lasting relationships within host communities. Additionally, TRC provides expertise to quantify and track the benefits from projects to meet grant funding requirements. A consistent approach to benefits tracking also promotes community confidence, by using interim reporting to ensure accountability allowing for more frequent and effective community outreach. TRC provides insights from project-specific jobs and wage data (from client and vendors), economic impact modeling, publicly available Census data, DACs from CEQ’s Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, and Department of Energy’s Community Reporter and agency frameworks.
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