San Francisco Local Hire Law Heralded as "Wild Success"

The past five years have borne witness to an unwavering tenacity and dedication of community advocates and other stakeholders that have led to groundbreaking results: local hiring in San Francisco has been validated as a “wild success” by the 2015-2016 Local Hiring Policy Report recording over six million work hours on 364 projects. The policy now legally requires all contractors on publicly funded projects to hire 30% of their workers from local communities. On projects with that requirement, the policy has led to an average of 45% local hiring, creating thousands of good-paying jobs for local residents. Thanks to the visionary leadership of Supervisor John Avalos, local hiring has connected residents of historically marginalized and disadvantaged communities to careers with high wages, benefits, and working condition protections. The mandate has also led to a strong increase in gender and racial diversity at construction worksites.

California Workforce Development Board Develops Strong Commitments to Job Placement Strategies, Career Pathways

In June 2016, the California Workforce Development Board also released their long awaited final Unified Strategic Workforce Development Plan, and after submitting its comment letter, Brightline was pleased that the final version of the Plan contained stronger commitments to job placement and serving individuals with barriers to employment. To ensure good-paying jobs with career pathways for disadvantaged workers, Brightline highlighted policies like San Francisco local hiring policies and programs like San Francisco's CityBuild Academy that provide pre-apprenticeship training and ensure good job outcomes by maintaining direct entry agreements with the construction trades. Brightline also joined the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color in calling for a stronger commitment to disadvantaged youth and individuals with barriers to employment.

Taking these concerns and suggestions into account, the final Plan noted the importance of "examining the employment and wage rates of those who participate in and complete relevant programs," continuing that "the real test of whether programs are serving the needs of both employers and workers is whether those who are receiving the services are getting good jobs that put them on a path to upward mobility." As for modeling training programs after successful programs like CityBuild, the final Plan noted that "[t]he success of earn and learn programs depends on...where appropriate, the involvement of organized labor, especially as this pertains to the development of partnerships with labor-management apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and non-traditional apprenticeship programs."

Local Hiring Success Despite Initial Concerns Over Lack of Local "Qualified Workers" 

San Francisco's local hire experience reveals the importance of community involvement in good job placement strategies. Overcoming conservative industry concerns about under-qualified local residents, San Francisco's experience with mandatory local hire shows how careful policy designs can channel a demand for community benefits into jobs for communities most in need. And the benefits of local hiring goes beyond job creation: more local jobs translate to increased local spending, a multiplier effect that benefits local businesses and leads to more resilient communities. 

With Mayor Ed Lee's commitment to fully implementing the law and strong leadership from city departmental heads, San Francisco has greatly exceeded its local hiring targets. Yet San Francisco's continuing construction boom highlights the need to continue to build out the pipeline of local workers. CityBuild Academy, the city's premier pre-apprenticeship program, recently created the SF Bridge Initiative with the SF Community College District and community-based organizations like A. Philip Randolph Institute, Community Youth Center, Mission Hiring Hall, and many others. This program links San Francisco's hardest-to-reach youth to job training and opportunities available now on the City's construction worksites.

Local hiring has been made possible thanks the leadership and support of a host of community-based organizations, including the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Anders and Anders Foundation, Asian Neighborhood Design, Brightline Defense, Charity Cultural Services Center, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Community Youth Center, Mission Hiring Hall, SF Conservation Corps, and Young Community Developers, and labor organizations including the Carpenters Local 22, Cement Masons Local 300, District Council 16, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 6, Ironworkers Local 377, Laborers Union Local 261, the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, the Northern California District Council of Laborers, Operating Engineers Local 3, Pile Drivers Local 34, Plasterers and Shophands Union Local 66, Roofers and Waterproofers Local 40, and Sheet Metal Workers Local 104.

The report also acknowledges city officials, including City Administrator Naomi Kelly, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Controller Ben Rosenfield, Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, Municipal Transportation Agency Director Ed Reiskin, Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly, Recreation & Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg, former Port Director Monique Moyer (and Interim Director Elaine Forbes), and former Airport Director John Martin (as well as incoming Director Ivar Satero) for their support, in addition to the Associated General Contractors, Construction Employers' Association, United Contractors, and Wall and Ceiling Alliance for helping to ensure the success of local hire.

Finally, the role of philanthropy has been essential to the policy's passage, implementation, and growth over the last five years through support from the San Francisco Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Kapor Center for Social Impact, and the Surdna Foundation. 

"Local hiring has reinvested the profits of city-funded growth into fortifying struggling communities," said Brightline Executive Director Eddie Ahn. "Adapting this workforce development strategy to different jurisdictions, we look forward to similarly strengthening and diversifying local economies throughout the state."