Creating Jobs and Hope for Local Workers

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with workers during the construction of Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, which implemented a local worker hire program.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with workers during the construction of Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, which implemented a local worker hire program.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a local worker hire policy expected to create thousands of jobs in communities that have long suffered from entrenched unemployment.

Authored by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis, the motion mandates that contractors building county-funded projects hire people living in economically depressed neighborhoods near the construction site to comprise 30 percent of their workforce.

Another 10 percent of jobs would go to veterans or their spouses, former foster youth, single parents, and other people facing barriers to employment, including being homeless, lacking a high school diploma or GED, and having a history with the criminal justice system.

“This policy makes the most of County investment by creating job opportunities for those individuals and communities who need it most,”
Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “It will also stimulate the local economy and reduce dependence on social safety net programs by delivering the most effective tool for addressing poverty: a high-paying job.”

Supervisor Solis added, “When we offer these opportunities in the construction trades to local workers and residents facing challenges finding work, we are not just keeping families from falling through the cracks, we are supporting the careers that we need as a region to build new bridges and invest in our collective future.”

Testifying before the Board in support of the policy, Ernesto Pantoja with Laborers Local 300 said, “I can’t express how much these jobs can save a person’s life. A lot of times, it’s their last hope.”

“This isn’t just about creating new jobs,” he added, “it’s about bringing people back to life, giving them hope.”