Gamaliel has a long and successful track record of working for jobs and workforce development.
In fall 2013 Gamaliel and its Transportation Equity Network (TEN) created the Jobs For All campaign to advance three policy changes that could open thousands of high-paying jobs for low-income people, minorities, women, and ex-offenders.
The departments of Labor and Housing and Urban Development are responsible for updating three important sets of workforce regulations that focus on getting low-income people of color and women into good-paying jobs. They are:
President Obama’s administration announced plans to update all three last year but progress seems to have stalled. Learn more and sign a petition calling for early action this year on all three measures here.
As a pioneer nearly 15 years ago in the area of regional equity and in advocating for metropolitan community economic development strategies, Gamaliel nationally and its affiliates across the country increasingly found themselves drawn into work around transit.
That work led naturally to a deep involvement in job creation, as we found that almost 48,000 jobs are created by every one billion dollars spent on highways. If just 15% of these jobs were ultimately given to low-income minorities, women, and ex-offenders, 7,050 construction jobs per $1 billion spent could go directly to the needy.
From that start, Gamaliel and TEN developed a solid track record on job creation and economic development. In August 2005, President Bush signed the Safe Accountable Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act-A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the $286 billion federal appropriation bill for highways and public transit. TEN was able to get a provision into SAFETEA-LU stating that on all highway projects, 30% of the jobs should be filled by local community members.
In August 2007, Gamaliel, Smart Growth America, and TEN released the study “The Road to Jobs,” providing an empirical backbone for the Jobs For All campaign. USA Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, and the Albany Times Union covered the event. TEN has since published four follow-up studies: “The Road to Good Jobs”, “The Road to Good Jobs: Making Training Work”, “More Transit = More Jobs”, and “Community Organizing As Job Creator: An Investment That Works For All.”
Community Benefits Agreements
St. Louis – In 2013, Metropolitan Congregations United of St. Louis (MCU) and partners such as the NAACP worked with St. Louis Metro Sewer District board for the MSD to enter into a community benefits agreement. Previously MCU won the largest workforce agreement with a Department of Transportation in the US. MODOT agreed to reserve 30% of the work hours on its largest highway project (I-64) for women, low-income people, and minorities. MODOT also agreed to funnel $2.5 million dollars into job training and incentives (0.5% of the project budget).
Springfield, Ill. – Faith Coalition for the Common Good won an agreement to create jobs associated with projected work on a new high-speed rail project in the city.
Buffalo – In 2013 VOICE-Buffalo established a Community Benefits Agreement with the Erie County Industrial Association on their Waterfront Development project. It calls for minority hiring at 25 percent and 5 percent women hiring, for Green LEED Standards at the Gold level and other provisions. The amount of development funding envisioned in the inner and outer harbor is over $600 million.
Kansas City – MORE2 also won a virtually identical agreement to the I-64 agreement with MODOT on the Paseo Bridge Project (KCICON), reserving $1.25 million for job training and support.
Detroit – Gamaliel affiliates MOSES, ISAAC, Ezekiel and JONAH all worked together with a statewide coalition to pass, after some 20 attempts, legislation to create the first Regional Transit Authority.
Milwaukee – Wisconsin’s Gamaliel affiliate WISDOM won a lawsuit that will require the state to make a proportional effort to increase bus transportation in an area that is in the process of a $1 billion highway project, the Zoo interchange.
Kansas City – MORE2 leaders advocated for an ordinance that requires construction firms to employ 10% minorities and 4% women throughout their entire construction payroll in an 11 county area in order to bid on public works or tax abatement construction projects in Kansas City. This ordinance will have tremendous long-term impact. It is probably the first of its kind in America.
County Level Policies
Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, PIIN, is celebrating a 2013 comprehensive transportation bill that sets up sustained funding of at least $485 million per year for mass transit in the Pittsburgh region and state. PIIN has worked with partners for four years to get this funding. For several years the group won emergency funding to keep the system operating without major cuts, and the new support provides stability and sets the stage for restoring some cuts and looking at a regional system.
California Bay Area – Gamaliel affiliate Genesis helped anchor the Six Wins Network community coalition, created to ensure community voices are part of regional planning for transportation and housing development required by California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (SB 375). The law mandates planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from driving by 7 percent by 2020 and 15 percent by 2035. Genesis participated in the successful effort to get the Alameda County Metropolitan Transportation Commission to pledge some $289 billion for transit through 2040. This effort, which required the hard work of many, included the organization’s first-ever Advocacy & Education Day, in which Genesis’ leaders met with 50 Commission members to advocate for the investment in transit.
St. Louis – MCU also won an executive order from St. Louis County, specifying that on public works projects of over $2 million dollars the county will employ 15% apprentices and that 15% of the work hours will be reserved for women, poor people, and minorities.
Michigan – Gamaliel of Michigan won a 4 year, $15 million state policy that will direct highway funds into jobs training. The policy will be jointly administered by the Department of Labor and Economic Growth and the Michigan Department of Transportation. It is one of the first state policies of its kind.