Policy will link employment opportunities created by City contracts to local and disadvantaged workers
NEW ORLEANS – Today, the New Orleans City Council passed Mayor Landrieu’s proposed ‘HireNOLA’ policy that requires certain contractors to prioritize Orleans Parish residents when hiring and to demonstrate good-faith efforts to hire local and disadvantaged workers. The policy is part of Mayor Landrieu’s Economic Opportunity Strategy to connect disadvantaged job seekers and businesses to new opportunities. Following the Mayor’s signature, phased implementation of the approved ordinance will begin in January 2016.
“Since launching the Economic Opportunity Strategy, we have made our goal clear: prepare and connect the people of New Orleans to jobs and connect our local businesses to strategic opportunities for growth,” said Mayor Landrieu. “I commend our partners in the City Council for making this a priority. Through this policy, we are helping to create pathways to prosperity for all New Orleans residents. As we continue our progress toward making New Orleans the city we have always dreamed she could be, we will not leave anyone behind.”
The overall goal of the HireNOLA policy is for at least 50 percent of all work hours on City projects to be completed by local workers, of which 30 percent are to be completed by disadvantaged local workers. Given the current state of the local workforce, the local hiring goals set in 2015 will increase annually by five percent with full implementation in 2020.
“With this new local hiring policy, we will be able to hold contractors accountable to hiring local talent, in turn building capacity for our businesses and supporting the growth of our local industries,” said Ashleigh Gardere, Senior Advisor for Economic Opportunity and Executive Director of the Network for Economic Opportunity. “We have seen tremendous support from our partners, including private businesses, unions, and contractors associations who all see the value in supporting the people of New Orleans.”
Councilmember James Gray said, “The City has made great strides in recent months in its efforts to create economic opportunity for all New Orleanians, particularly disadvantaged job seekers. Establishing and prioritizing local hiring through this new policy will ensure that we are making opportunities available for our local workforce. I am pleased to be championing this effort.”
Councilmember Jason Williams said, "This ordinance is several decades past due. The city of Atlanta made strides in this area in 1973 and other cities followed suit. Ashleigh Gardere and her team have worked very hard to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time so that the City of New Orleans does not squander a unique opportunity to get local folks gainfully employed during this period of robust economic development and construction."
Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, "This new local hiring policy will help us to leverage the work being done in the city in order to increase equity for our longtime residents."
Councilmember Nadine Ramsey said, "It's so important that our citizens are given every opportunity to benefit and profit from the continued growth that New Orleans is experiencing. Hire NOLA demonstrates the City's commitment to holding those who contract with the City to the standard of hiring locally."
Councilmember Jared Brossett said, "The lack of economic opportunity for many in this city is one of the seeds of many of our problems. This is a needed and long-overdue step towards opportunity. We cannot continue to spend city money on city projects but continue to overwhelmingly see the money leave our city and lessen the benefit to New Orleanians."
Throughout the process, the City met with external stakeholders including the Industrial Development Board, local developers, Association of General Contractors, the New Orleans Business Alliance, Louisiana Workforce Commission, and community advocate groups, such as Stand with Dignity and the Collaborative, to present the proposed policy and garner feedback.
HireNOLA will require certain contractors to use the City as its first source for recruitment, referrals and placement of new hires on applicable contracts. It will also require contractors working on applicable projects to demonstrate good faith efforts to hire local and disadvantaged workers.
Applicable contracts include any contract to which the City is a party for construction, alteration, or demolition of public buildings or public works of the City of New Orleans in excess of $150,000, and any Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to which the City is a party and through which the City provides tax incentives for economic development projects in excess of $150,000.