A landmark city-wide jobs policy ensuring local construction jobs reach all of our communities.
Q: Which jobs provide years of employer-paid training, offers a living wage with generous benefits, rewards workers for staying in the industry and does not require a college degree?
A: Union construction jobs.
But of the thousands of workers employed on Seattle public works contracts, only 6% are from Seattle. And the public construction workforce in general does not reflect the diversity of our population. This is a missed opportunity to people in our communities who have been left behind in the economy to launch a construction career.
Since 2008, Sage has been working to create opportunity in construction careers by linking people with barriers to employment jobs in the building and construction trades. We work closely with community and labor allies to win policies that create a pipeline from training to a union job. But merely a map to good jobs is not enough. We need:
- A job at the end of the training pathway, not just a door out of the training room
- Construction jobs with certified apprenticeship opportunities
- Community Workforce Agreements (CWAs) that create the flexibility and authority needed to get all parties to work together, including community, unions, training programs, contractors, and government.
- Public policy that establishes enforceable requirements of public contractors to hire people most in need of opportunity.
Together, with Got Green in the Targeted Local Hire Coalition, we won Priority Hire legislation in January 2015, a landmark jobs policy in the City of Seattle ensuring local construction jobs reach all of our communities.
Priority Hire will provide hundreds of career entry points over the next several years for priority workers and will serve as a model for the region.
On Jan. 29, 2015, Mayor Murray signed a new priority hire ordinance passed by Seattle City Council.
City construction projects of $5 million or more will be required to have a percentage of project hours performed by workers living in economically distressed areas. In addition, City projects will have apprentice utilization requirements and women and people of color aspirational goals.