More than 6,000 construction jobs could be created when work starts on 22 schools, the Education Minister has said.
The projects, worth an estimated £220m, were approved by the Department of Education in January but have still to receive planning permission.
If given the go-ahead, they are said to have the potential to generate £625m for the economy.
"The recent announcement was not only good news for the 22 school projects, in advance of planning, there was also good news for employment in the construction industry," Sinn Fein minister John O'Dowd said during question time at the Assembly.
Fourteen of the new build projects are for primary schools and eight are post-primaries and were identified as priorities.
Since 2009 education contracts have included social clauses requiring contractors to recruit the long-term unemployed, apprentices and provide placements.
Mr O'Dowd said a further £37m available for minor enhancement works and maintenance schemes over the next 12 months could also create employment.