Mayor Mike McGinn
Council Passes Resolution Supporting Construction Careers
SEATTLE - Council passed Resolution 31485 today, establishing the ad hoc Construction Careers Advisory Committee. The Committee is charged with developing a report with recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on strategies to improve access to construction-related jobs on City public works projects for women, people of color and otherwise disadvantaged individuals. The committee will be made up of contractors, labor leaders, workforce training providers and members of the community.
The resolution establishes membership for the Committee, sets forth a timeline for the Committee and tasks the Committee with reviewing current data and developing recommendations for a targeted hiring policy. The Resolution also underscores the City's interest in expanding access to economic opportunities by providing career ladders for those who historically face barriers to joining the construction trades.
"Seattle is coming back strong from the recession, but many communities are being left behind. Making it easier for disadvantaged workers to access family-wage careers is a priority for my administration, and a successful career in the trades can be transformative for workers and their families," said Mayor Mike McGinn.
The City is a strong supporter of and has found construction job training programs, including apprentice and pre-apprenticeship programs, to be an effective way to prepare individuals with the necessary job skills to be prepared to successfully pursue construction careers.
Since March, Council has been working with stakeholders to begin exploring construction careers and the power of local government spending on putting people back to work. The Economic Resiliency Committee has played host to representatives from cities around the country who have successfully boosted the power of governmental construction spending to help local residents receive job-related training, enter the construction workforce and earn living wages to support their families. Several American cities, including Los Angeles, have helped residents enter the construction field by requiring contractors on city-funded projects to hire a predetermined percentage of economically and otherwise disadvantaged residents through targeted hiring. Earlier this year representatives from the City of San Francisco presented to Council about the last two years of their local hire program and the success efforts to move people into better-paying, long-term jobs construction careers.
"Access to a career in the construction trades can represent a path from poverty to the middle class for many families in our community," said Councilmember Mike O'Brien. "Crafting the right policy will be complex and take some time, but through our collaboration with the stakeholders involved in Construction Careers Advisory Committee, I am confident that we can create more pathways to living-wage jobs for people in Seattle."
Seattle and Washington state have had a significant increase in the number of large scale construction projects over the past two decades. The question of how these projects are completed and who benefits from working on them is an important issue involving billions of dollars.
"We've long known construction jobs can be a good path to a living wage career. Yet many of our economically disadvantaged citizens have had difficulty getting into the field. I'm optimistic we can use Target Hire to help more Seattleites and their families reap the rewards of a well-paying occupation," said Council President Sally J. Clark.
"We want people underrepresented in construction fields to be more successful in the job market," said Councilmember Nick Licata. "Global employers claim outsourcing' jobs from one place in the world to another addresses wage disparities. Better, on a local scale to 'insource' using 'targeted hire.' This is what we can do for more inclusive hiring practices," Licata added.