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Over the past decade, the community benefits movement has emerged as a powerful mechanism for challenging the political and economic realities that undermine urban communities. Community benefits campaigns strive to build new political relationships among unlikely allies, uniting labor, community, environmental and faith-based groups behind broad-based agendas focused on economic development that prioritizes high-quality jobs, creates new career paths for low-income workers, marshals resources for environmental cleanup and sustainability, and avails residents of access to more affordable housing options. In many cities where community benefits coalitions work, research has shown that, too often, new development fails to generate high quality jobs and career paths for residents of the poorest parts of the city. Local hire requirements are a critical component of the community benefits agenda because they create concrete mechanisms for ensuring that investment of public funds in economic development will direct resources into low-income neighborhoods. The point is not only to hire local residents, but to use local hire requirements to target opportunities to low-income residents and people of color who might otherwise not benefit from new development. Local hiring programs are on the strongest legal footing, and are likely to produce the most meaningful outcomes, when they are rooted in efforts to reduce poverty rather than merely to hire city residents.
Best Value Contracting creates a set of enforceable qualifications with a single point of accountability, pervormance qualifications, workforce development, oversight and transparency on publicly funded projects.
Policymakers have long understood the job creation opportunities that public infrastructure projects provide. To enhance these jobs' economic and social impact and lift families out of poverty, many cities and states have incorporated job quality and equity policies into public infrastructure projects. Such policies ensure that these projects don't simply create jobs, but instead provide good jobs in the local communities that need them. These projects can create quality jobs that provide valuable pathways out of poverty and into a sustained career, while building much-needed infrastructure. Some cash-strapped municipalities have turned to public-private partnerships (P3s), which use private capital to finance public infrastructure projects, as a strategy for accomplishing infrastructure renewal and development. The P3 approach demands the same focus on jobs that traditional infrastructure projects have, and the successful strategies used for traditional projects may be used on P3 projects with little or no modification.
An ordinance requiring contracting companies to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, a workforce composed of 40% qualified Newark residents.