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Council President Introduces Legislation to Grow Local Employment
Baltimore City has an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average and most surrounding jurisdictions

– Facing an unemployment rate that is higher than the national average and most surrounding jurisdictions, City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young today will introduce legislation to explore the feasibility of creating a program that requires residential preferences in local hiring. 

The legislation – Local Hiring Preference Programs – would examine the impact of local hiring initiatives nationwide, forecast any employment benefits for city residents and analyze the legal restrictions surrounding local hiring programs.

Nationwide, many recession-battered municipalities are turning to local hiring preference programs to increase employment. In Milwaukee, Wis., residential preference hiring is required for contracts with the Department of Public Works. In Portland, Ore., a Community Workforce Agreement program for publicly funded projects outlines local hiring goals to help decrease unemployment and increase wages. And in Sacramento County, Calif., firms supplying goods and services that hire local residents are awarded bidding preferences.

“Maintaining a persistently high unemployment rate is not acceptable,” Baltimore City Council President Young said. “We need to come together, explore the benefits and hurdles associated with local hiring preference programs, and come up with a legal way to put city residents to work on projects that involve their neighborhoods and communities.”

Council President Young’s resolution will be introduced today at 5 p.m. during the City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting. The resolution calls on the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, Baltimore Development Corporation, City Finance Department, Law Department and Office of Sustainability to weigh in on the benefits and potential risks associated with creating a local hiring preference program in Baltimore City.

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