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Council President Young Introduces Groundbreaking Local Hiring Ordinance
Young’s legislation is modeled after successful programs in Boston, Cleveland, San Francisco and Washington

– City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young will take a major step toward reducing Baltimore’s stubbornly high unemployment rate with the introduction of a bill to create a local hiring mandate within the City.
The legislation, titled Finance and Procurement – Local Hiring, will be introduced tonight during the council’s regularly scheduled meeting.

The Council President’s ordinance would require 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 that are outlined in the Council President’s bill.
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 to ensure that the city’s video lottery terminal project included a local hiring initiative.

"Baltimore must move beyond relying on the good faith efforts of contractors to ensure that residents have access to employment opportunities,” Council President Young said. “City government must ensure that our residents, labor leaders and contractors join together to finally make local hiring a priority as we seek to grow our city and its economy.”

Nationally, cities from Boston to San Francisco have found ways to legally institute local hiring preference programs, said Joshua Arce, executive director of the Brightline Defense Project, a policy advocacy nonprofit that promotes sustainability and opportunity in traditionally underserved communities through public policy advocacy and partnerships.

"For nearly two years, mandatory local hiring has been a successful and legally viable means of increasing community opportunity on publicly funded construction projects in San Francisco," said Mr. Arce, who helped develop that city’s local hiring policy for construction, which has boosted local participation on covered projects by 70 percent since 2010.  As long as residents of different states are not negatively impacted, Mr. Arce said, “cities are on rock solid legal footing in pursuing a local hiring policy."

Council President Young’s local hiring effort resembles similar initiatives across the country that have successfully lowered unemployment rates by putting more residents to work on local construction jobs, said Kathleen Mulligan-Hansel, deputy director of the Partnership for Working Families, a national network whose affiliates have worked to support passage and implementation of targeted hiring programs across the country.

"Local leaders from across the country have passed targeted hiring programs to ensure all communities can benefit when taxpayer dollars create jobs," Ms. Mulligan-Hansel said. "The most effective programs have created hundreds of new opportunities for un- and under-employed workers, in hotel, service, retail and construction jobs."

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