New Program Will Bring Thousands of Jobs to Low-Income Californians
Los Angeles may be providing a model for bringing good jobs to economically hard-hit communities, especially communities of color, with a new agreement with the Federal Transit Administration.
The groundbreaking deal on a project labor agreement for federally-funded transit projects would allow directed hiring for up to $72 billion in transit projects and 270,000 jobs. 40 percent of those construction jobs would be given to residents of economically disadvantaged areas and 10 percent for people from those areas with more specific barriers to being hired--the homeless, veterans, and the formerly-incarcerated. Previously, federal regulations had prevented location-specific hiring preferences, but the new agreement will make sure that the federal dollars bring jobs to the areas hit the hardest by the economic crisis, and could be replicated in other struggling areas getting much-needed federal funding for construction.
Six years of effort from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), the Partnership for Working Families, and a coalition of building trade unions and community groups led to the decision, which could have national impact.
The Department of Labor, in a February 9 news brief, praised the decision, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis herself commented, "PLAs are a win-win for businesses and workers. They help to ensure on-time and on-budget completion of projects and provide career pathways for workers that need them the most." She continued that the agreement, "furthers President Obama's vision for an 'America Built to Last,' where everyone gets a fair shot at success."