Following a rally with California Jobs to Move America in support of Metro Director and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis’ motion to adopt a Permanent U.S. Employment Plan Policy for Metro bus and rail car purchase projects above $100 million, the motion was unanimously passed by the Metro Systems, Safety, Security, and Operations Committee. The Policy will now head to the full Metro Board for final adoption on January 25, 2018.
“As the Secretary of Labor under President Obama, I have a deep and steadfast commitment to maximizing job creation and career development, with a special emphasis on providing employment to low-income residents and those facing barriers to employment,” said Supervisor Solis. “It is exciting to kick start this new year with new jobs for County residents. This policy helps achieve equitable outcomes throughout the region. Thank you to all of our partners for their tireless efforts to advance the quality of life for all Angelenos.”
The policy will incentivize manufacturers seeking Metro contracts to prioritize job creation, partner with community organizations to implement workforce development and apprenticeship programs, and create pathways for historically underrepresented and excluded populations in the manufacturing industry. Individuals reintegrating into society after incarceration, veterans, single parents, low-income residents, recipients of public assistance, and individuals lacking a high school diploma or GED are among targeted groups the policy is expected to benefit.
Motion co-author, Director Sheila Kuehl said, “Metro’s utilization of the USEP has put more than 400 people to work in the Antelope Valley, many of whom were struggling for various reasons to find a good job. A Permanent USEP policy is one of many strategies Metro can use to create pathways into the middle-class for single parents (most of whom are women), people being released from prison or jail, foster youth who are aging out of the County’s care, and others who face significant barriers to employment. I look forward to a lot more LA County success stories under this policy.”
California Jobs to Move America is a coalition of labor, environmental, community, faith, and workforce development organizations. The speakers at today’s rally included Supervisor Solis; the Alliance for Community Transit LA; the Los Angeles Black Worker Center; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 11; the Sierra Club; and a worker from the Kinkisahryo facility in Palmdale.
The U.S. Employment Plan was co-developed by Metro, Jobs to Move America, the Brookings Institution, the University of Southern California, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. According to research from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Metro’s adoption of the U.S. Employment Plan on future bus and rail purchases along could support up to 22,051 jobs for its current fleet of 3,299 vehicles.
“This policy offers a new vision for our economy and communities, one that has broad reaching benefits for our neighbors across the county. As other speakers have noted today, the U.S. Employment Plan works, and through strong, consistent implementation, can serve as a national model for creating a more inclusive economy with the tax dollars we already spend. We commend Supervisor Solis’ leadership on this important effort, as well as her co-authors’,” said Erika Thi Patterson, National Policy Director of Jobs to Move America.
Terri Green, a member of the Black Worker Center, described the hardships that people who have barriers to employment often face: “Metro adopting a permanent U.S. Employment Plan Policy could ensure that our transit investments generate good jobs and increased recruitment for workers of color, women, formerly incarcerated, veterans and other underrepresented communities.”