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Council Passes President’s Local Hiring Bill, Finalizing Historic Measure Aimed at Increasing Employment for City Residents

– Members of the City Council made history tonight by becoming one of a handful of cities to successfully pass a law promoting local hiring.

The bill, which was introduced by City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, will ultimately help to lower the city’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, which at 10 percent tops the state and one of the highest rates in the nation.

“I would like to thank my colleagues on the City Council for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me to place the needs of our unemployed and underemployed citizens first,” Council President Young said. “Tonight’s passage of this landmark bill represents a renewed sense of hope for the countless families who continue to struggle to pay for basic necessities. I look forward to working with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on the law’s implementation.”

Throughout Baltimore, a host of employment advocacy groups praised the passage of the local hiring law.

“With Council President Young’s leadership, the City Council vote today sends an important signal regarding its commitment to finding solutions that will put Baltimore back to work,” said Jason Perkins-Cohen, executive director of the Job Opportunities Task Force, an organization with a leading voice on workforce issues in Maryland. “This legislation will help lift residents out of poverty by reinvesting public funds directly back into our communities.”

“The Baltimore Jewish Council commends the effort to bring job creation and growth to the residents of Baltimore City, and believes that local hiring will benefit the City on multiple levels,” said Cailey Locklair, the Council’s director of government relations.

The Council’s actions received praise 3,000 miles away from the San Francisco-based Brightline Defense Project.  

"Council President Young's leadership is inspiring because the City Solicitor has thrown up every conceivable roadblock to his courageous efforts to do better for Baltimore's communities," said Joshua Arce, executive director of Brightline Defense, who helped develop San Francisco's successful mandatory local hiring law. “Tonight the City Council has demonstrated that the status quo is not an answer to persistently high unemployment in Baltimore City.”

The Council President’s ordinance requires 51 percent of all new jobs created as a result of a city contract above $300,000 or a project that includes a subsidy of $5 million or more to be filled by residents of Baltimore City. Waivers may be issued, on a case-by-case basis, under certain special conditions.

Council President Young has a long track record of championing local hiring efforts. He was instrumental in setting local hiring goals for the Lexington Square and Harbor East developments and worked tirelessly and successfully to ensure that the city’s video lottery terminal project included a local hiring initiative.

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