The Atlanta City Council strengthened its commitment to jobs for low-income residents on Monday by approving a hiring and training ordinance. Residents and community groups had called on the City Council to pass it.
Known as “First Source Hiring,” the ordinance seeks to lower poverty and unemployment through apprenticeship, recruitment, hiring and training programs, city officials said.
Georgia STAND-UP, a group of community, labor and faith members who back economic development, supported passage of the legislation, saying that it will make Atlanta stronger.
“This initiative capitalizes on community-based workforce training to provide disadvantaged populations with employment access through job preparation and apprentice-based skills,” Georgia STAND-UP Executive Director Deborah Scott said in a statement.
Atlanta has a population of more than 432,400 residents but the metropolitan area has an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent, one of the highest in Georgia, city officials said. Residents also face underemployment.
The ordinance calls for a “First Source” register, which will contain the names of low-income Atlanta residents who are qualified for jobs.
An employer who receives city dollars for a development project will need to fill half of all entry-level jobs with candidates from the register, officials said in a statement. Also, apprentices will need to perform 10 percent of the construction work hours.
In addition to training and apprenticeship programs, the legislation will provide entrepreneurial education and development opportunities for skilled workers.
City officials said they will work with businesses in implementing the ordinance.
“The city’s future economic growth depends on our willingness to continue building bonds among community, business and government stakeholders,” Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell said in a statement.
Mitchell also praised Scott for her “steadfast” advocacy for the legislation.
While Atlanta had approved an earlier “First Source” job policy, the legislation passed Monday offers greater training and career opportunities.