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Op-ed: Physical infrastructure is a start, human infrastructure must follow

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The Senate’s passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill is a welcome sight, but even if the House approves and President Joe Biden signs it, the legislation will tackle only part of the country’s infrastructure dilemma.

To round out the recovery and build sustainable economic growth, federal investments in human infrastructure, like skill-building and job training, must complement physical infrastructure upgrades.

This isn’t just about measuring a return on investment. Poor or insufficient funding for human infrastructure will also exacerbate the economic and political divides recent elections vividly demonstrated, further harming our societal and national health.

Perhaps nowhere is this widening political-economic divide clearer than in the Midwest, where communities are increasingly marked by those succeeding in a globalized economy and those falling further behind.

Some of these trends go back to at least 2016, and are reflected in presidential election results.

Major economic hubs like Indianapolis (Marion County) and dynamic Midwest cities with large universities, such as Madison, Wisconsin (Dane County), broke for Biden by margins similar to those enjoyed by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

At the same time, in both struggling........

© Chicago Tribune

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