Report: First Source Crucial to Create Local Jobs

Construction cranes are a typical part of the DC skyline to residents of the nation’s capital, where the construction industry is booming. However, DC residents are sorely underrepresented on the city’s construction sites compared to the rest of the region. A recent study by Good Jobs First reveals that with proper implementation, DC’s local hiring law, known as First Source, is crucial to guaranteeing good jobs for DC residents.

Good Jobs First reports that DC residents are less than half as likely to get construction jobs than workers from DC’s sprawling suburbs. DC residents are the least likely to be employed in construction within the Northeast’s “Acela Corridor,” whereas residents of DC suburbs are the most likely to have construction jobs. When First Source is not applied, or when it is poorly enforced, few DC residents are hired for construction jobs.

The report demonstrates that with the chance to establish relationships in the industry, DC residents’ have greater access to middle class jobs that don’t require a college education. In the construction industry, where hiring depends heavily on personal referrals and professional connections, First Source plugs DC residents into the industry’s informal hiring networks.

Good Jobs First’s findings highlight that with full implementation and strong enforcement, First Source has the potential to eliminate barriers faced by DC residents to accessing good jobs and decrease unemployment rates. In 2011, the DC Employment Justice Center and allies scored a major victory when the mayor and City Council strengthened First Source by raising hiring targets and toughening enforcement procedures. The DC Employment Justice Center applauds the city’s efforts to ensure that DC residents can reap the benefits of the billions of tax dollars invested in construction projects annually.