Tele-Town Hall with LA Urban League

More than 920 stakeholders participated in a telephone town hall to speak about Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ local worker hire initiative targeting residents along the Crenshaw Transit Corridor and other Metro funded transportation projects. The initiative which would provide jobs to local residents within a five mile radius of any Metro project is set for a vote before the Metro Board on Thursday, September 22 at 9:00 a.m.

Jobs, the local worker hire initiative, or Construction Career Policy, and a project labor agreement were the main topics of discussion between Crenshaw community residents and Dan Rosenfeld, Ridley-Thomas’ senior deputy for economic development.  Other town hall participants included Robbie Hunter of the Los Angeles and Orange County building and construction trades council land Shomari Davis, business agent for the International Brotherhood Electrical Workers, Local 11. The labor leaders spoke eloquently of the significance of securing a Metro policy that ensures that its transportation projects give preference to workers who live in neighborhoods where unemployment is high.

During the hour-long discussion at the Los Angeles Urban League, Rosenfeld reaffirmed the Supervisor’s commitment to ensuring that a superior Crenshaw to LAX line is built from the start of construction to its completion. That means pushing forward on both a project labor agreement and construction careers policy that will enable at least 30% of the total construction hours are provided by residents who live within five miles of the project and within zip codes where unemployment is high.  Davis and Hunter attested to how Project Labor Agreements don’t just provide jobs for workers: the skills that are learned through PLA apprenticeship programs launch careers. Davis explained the steps that construction trade seekers go through and the lifetime benefits both financially and economically that come from learning a trade. Throughout the tele-town hall, co-hosted by the Urban League, participants voiced their concern, outrage and disappointment at the Metro Board’s refusal in May to underground the proposed light rail line through Park Mesa Heights and its unwillingness to include funding for a Leimert Park Village Station at Vernon.  Below are the results of a survey posed to the participants:

1. Do you support a targeted hire preference for residents of neighborhoods experiencing high unemployment and poverty for construction jobs on the Crenshaw-LAX line?

2. In general, do you think government should implement targeted hiring policies?

3. What percentage of the workforce should be drawn from communities characterized by high unemployment communities within the Crenshaw corridor?

4. Will you join us at the MTA Board meeting on Thursday, September 22 at 9 A.M.?


On May 26, the Metro Board rejected Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion that directed Metro staff to look into funding alternatives to finance a Leimert Park Village Station and underground the portion of the line that runs through Park Mesa Heights using non-Measure R sources. The motion received three favorable votes and needed seven of the thirteen Metro Board votes to pass. Instead, the Metro Board rejected the Park Mesa tunnel option outright and paid lip service to the Leimert Park Village station at Vernon, agreeing to add it to the final environmental document, but failing to provide funding for it. Mayor Villaraigosa’s vote and the additional three votes of his appointees were critical to the passage of the weaker motion after unanimously opposing the tunnel.  At the end of the tele-town hall, the panel called on listeners to attend the September 22 Metro Board meeting to show support for the Local Worker Hire/Construction Careers Policy for the Crenshaw-to-LAX line to ensure economic opportunities and benefits for those who live, work and trade in the heart of South Los Angeles.

For more information on an apprenticeship program contact:

IBEW Local 11-Electrician Training Institute
(323) 221-5881

For information on a apprenticeship mentoring/tutoring program contact:

Supervisor honored at PVJOBS annual luncheon

Playa Vista Job Opportunities and Business Services (PVJOBS) brought together over 500 labor, business and community leaders to honor top workers and supporters at its annual Recognition Luncheon at the Cathedral Plaza in downtown Los Angeles.  This year was titled “Building New Careers & New Lives.” PVJOBS is a non-profit corporation created in 1998 to fulfill a Los Angeles City Council mandate: provide construction employment opportunities for at-risk local residents at the Playa Vista development site.  Today, as a result of their advocacy, PVJOBS works with several major construction projects.

[pullquote_right]”It’s about empowering individuals, strengthening families, and building communities,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas received a special recognition as a “Visionary of the Year” at the luncheon.  Kevin Sherrod was honored as “Intern of the Year”, Nathan Covington, as “Employee of the Year” for his work on the new Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital, Jennie Garcia as “Employee of the Year”, and Hathaway Dinwiddie was honored as “Contractor of the Year.”

There are currently more than 100 community-based organizations providing life skills training to hard-to-serve individuals and referring them to PVJOBS for employment.  Together with collaborators, PVJOBS provides an array of supportive services to enable client success.  All referrals to PVJOBS are maintained in a database.  As employment opportunities become available, PVJOBS queries the database and makes referrals to employers.

Since most of the employment opportunities are construction and trade union affiliated, candidates are prepared for a union entry along with the cost of special tools and clothing barrier to employment.  PVJOBS makes supportive services available to cover these costs for clients.

PVJOBS is committed to supplying a minimum of 3000 hours work to each candidate.  This is accomplished by re-referral to similar trade work upon contract completion and subsequent lay off.  To date, PV JOBS has filled over 3,500 construction positions with more than 1000 contractors and a success rate of 89.5%.

For more information about PVJOBS, please visit

Push for local jobs in the second district

Support a Project Labor Agreement for the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority meeting on September 22, 2011. The Metro Board of Directors will vote on a proposal to establish an agency-wide Project Labor Agreement (PLA) to implement the new Construction Careers Policy at Metro.  The Construction Careers Policy and the PLA will ensure that at least 30% of total construction hours worked on a project are performed by residents targeted from areas characterized by high unemployment along project routes and within L.A. County.

Metro Board Room, 3rd Floor
One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Thursday, September 22, 2011, 9:00 AM

Other items of interest on the agenda:

  • Approval of the final Environmental Impact Report for the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line
  • Adoption of an agency-wide Renewable Energy Policy that will impact the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line

RSVP: Melissa Hernandez at

Let your presence be your voice!


[Download the flyer here.]

It’s official. Construction for phase 2 of the Expo line begins.

Shovels in hand and hard hats on, the nine member Expo board punctured the dirt commencing the construction of Phase 2 of the Expo Line. The groundbreaking of Phase 2 initiates construction for the portion of the Expo Line that will run from Culver City to Santa Monica and connect to Phase 1. In the next few months, Phase 1 will run from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City. Phase 2, scheduled to open in 2015, will run from Culver City to Santa Monica. Once completed, the 15.2 mile Expo line will give commuters the option of traveling from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica by rail and pass through 19 station stops, including ones at the University of Southern California, Exposition Park, the Mid-City Communities, the Crenshaw District, Culver City, and West Los Angeles; the line also will connect to the upcoming Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor.  According to Expo staff, by 2030, approximately 64,000 passengers will ride the Expo Transit Line each day, making it one of the most heavily used light rail lines in the country.  Aside from connecting communities on the Westside to downtown Los Angeles, the Expo Line is expected to shorten commutes, lower greenhouse gas emissions from cars, provide fast and reliable public transportation services and increase the number of commuters who use the public transportation in Los Angeles County.

Of its notable attributes, construction for Phase 2 of the Expo Line is the first transit project in recent memory with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) and Construction Careers Policy, mandated by the Expo Board.

[pullquote_right] “In short, this is an opportunity for taxpayers to benefit from their own tax dollars,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]The Construction Careers Policy and the PLA ensure that at least 30% of total construction hours are from residents who live within five miles of Phases 1 and 2 of the project and within L.A. County zip codes where unemployment is high. In addition, this provision sets aside job opportunities for disadvantaged workers, such as those who are homeless, are high school drop-outs or who have criminal records.

“It is vitally important that our transportation developments dovetail with economic development as much as possible, and this transit project will not only improve the quality of life for thousands of commuters, it will also provide the community with much needed jobs,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “In short, this is an opportunity for taxpayers to benefit from their own tax dollars.”

In mid-March Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Herb Wesson championed the implementation of a Project Labor Agreement and Construction Careers Policy for Phase 2 of the Expo Line. The hiring provisions will serve to ensure local residents have access to the thousands of jobs created by the $1.5 billion Expo line rail project.


Thousands attend job fair in search of work

More than 5,000 job seekers headed down to the job fair at the Crenshaw Christian Center in South Los Angeles in search of work. The job fair hosted by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, was the last stop on the “For the People Jobs Initiative” ending the five city tour that included stops in Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Miami, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia.

All day, attendees flocked to the various booths to speak to over 150 employers from various industries such as Technology, Transportation, Education, Government, Entertainment, Non-Profit, Retail, Health, Finance, and Construction.  Among the employers was Skanska/Rados who was recently awarded a $542 million contract by the Exposition Construction Authority for phase 2 of the Expo Corridor light rail.  Clark Construction who was recently awarded a $151 million design-build contract by the Board of Supervisors to renovate the County’s historic Hall of Justice also hosted a booth accepting resumes from job-seekers.

Hawthorne resident Cheryl Maniece noted, “There are too many people out of work.  I’m not understanding why that is.  This is an affluent nation.”

As part of the requirement for participating employers in the job fair, each employer had to have jobs openings readily available.  The crowd of attendees came to the job fair professionally dressed, ready to network, and with resumes in hand.  Job seeker, Micheaux Fortson, captured the sentiment of the day.  “America is in need.  All generations, ages, races, everyone here needs a job.  I definitely need one.”