State Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) today expressed disappointment in the passage of House Bill 180, legislation that prohibits cities and other municipalities from setting minimum standards for hiring local residents for public works projects. The minimum residency standards, currently in place in cities and municipalities around the state, let qualified workers earn the opportunity to find rewarding employment in their own communities.
“Local hiring standards are the bootstraps with which people can help pull themselves out of poverty,” said Boyd. “Making hiring decisions locally strengthens our local economy and regional workforce. House Bill 180 handcuffs local decision-making and sends Ohio jobs out of state.”
Some Ohio communities use local hiring quotas on publicly financed projects as a way to strengthen local workforce participation and, in turn, strengthen local economies. For example, the City of Akron – in the early stages of a $1.4 billion sewer system upgrade project – currently has a local hiring target of 30 percent, with that goal increasing to 50 percent by 2018.
Urban areas typically have higher unemployment rates than the national average, making the decision to hire local even more impactful for improving the job market in Ohio’s urban areas. Local hiring on public works projects offers a pathway to toward full workforce inclusion for all members of a community, including minority and at-risk populations.
The cities of Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Lima, Dayton, and Columbus, among others, all testified in opposition to the bill