The City of New Orleans has introduced a proposal to implement a new local hiring policy that links local and disadvantaged workers to the employment opportunities created by City contracts.
The proposed new policy, named Hire NOLA, requires contractors working on applicable projects to demonstrate good faith efforts to hire local and disadvantaged workers.
Applicable contracts include any Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to which the City is a party and is providing tax incentives for New Orleans economic development projects in excess of $150,000.
The new policy will also cover City contracts for construction, alteration or demolition of public buildings or public works in excess of $150,000.
Contractors will be required to consider New Orleans as their first source for recruitment, referrals and placement of new hires for applicable contracts.
The Network for Economic Opportunity introduced the Hire NOLA policy ordinance as part of the Mayor’s Economic Opportunity Strategy that was launched last year to connect disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities.
In a release announcing Hire NOLA, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said that “Since launching the Economic Opportunity Strategy, we have made our goal clear -prepare and connect the people of New Orleans to jobs and our local businesses to strategic opportunities for growth.”
Mayor Landrieu added that there is no doubt that the local hiring policy will help to accomplish this goal.
Ashleigh Gardere, senior advisor for Economic Opportunity and executive director of the Network for Economic Opportunity, said in the release that with this new local hiring policy, they will be able to hold contractors accountable to hiring local talent, in turn building capacity for local businesses and supporting the growth of local industries.
The City expects that implementation of the Hire NOLA policy will ensure that at least fifty percent of all work hours on City projects will be completed by local workers, and thirty percent of those hours will be completed by disadvantaged local workers.
The agenda for the next meeting of the New Orleans City Council’s Economic Development Committee includes this proposed ordinance. The City is hoping to work with the City Council to get the ordinance passed by next month, with implementation to begin early next year in January.
The hiring goals set under the program will increase annually by five percent, with full implementation expected by 2020.
Councilmember James Gray said in the release that he is pleased to be championing this effort, and added that establishing and prioritizing local hiring through this new policy will ensure that they are making opportunities available for the local workforce.