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Mayor Barry Announces Workforce Development Initiative to Aid in Implementation of Local-Hire Charter Amendment

January 29, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Joined by both supporters and opponents of the local-hire charter amendment that was supported by 58% of voters in the August 2015 election, Mayor Megan Barry announced a new workforce development initiative to coincide with regulations that are based on months of discussions with contractors, labor unions, and community workforce advocates.

“Ultimately, whether you supported Amendment Three or opposed it, most everyone can agree that we are stronger as a city if more of our residents have access to jobs,” said Mayor Barry. “The construction industry here in Nashville has many great opportunities for career jobs that will help working families to put food on the table and a roof over their kid’s head without having to move outside of Davidson County. This program will help those workers connect with the resources and opportunities necessary to take advantage of those jobs.”

The plan for implementation of the local-hire amendment consists of a workforce development initiative called the Nashville Construction Readiness Partnership (NCRP), which will be led out of the Nashville Career Advancement Center (NCAC), as well as the rules, penalties, and waivers necessary to successfully implement the requirements of the charter amendment. The amendment calls for 40% of all construction craft hours on Metro construction projects to be performed by Davidson County residents.

The Nashville Construction Readiness Partnership is a collaborative initiative of Mayor Barry to ensure the citizens of Nashville have the access and the skills needed to engage in Nashville’s vibrant construction industry. The Partnership will develop and implement strategies that match employers with skilled Davidson County workers and provide training opportunities for residents seeking to enter the industry for the first time. The focus of the strategies will be to leverage existing activities and initiatives, such as Go Build Tennessee, that facilitate the employment of Davidson County residents and make investments in areas where such activities need expansion or creation.

Toby Compton, president of Associated Builders and Contractors, praised the Mayor’s efforts to create a workforce development program that will help contractors in finding skilled construction workers for local jobs, saying “many of our builders and contractors are hungry to have a local trained workforce ready to help get jobs completed on time. They would love nothing more than to hire more Davidson County workers on their projects, and the Nashville Construction Readiness Partnership will help them do just that.”

“Thanks to the efforts of Mayor Barry, we will see an expanded job training and workforce development program that will result in more of Nashville’s workers – especially low-income residents who are stuck in under-paying jobs – having the opportunity to learn those skills that will result in better wages and benefits for themselves and their families,” said Rev. Ed Thompson, chair of Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH), the organization that helped get Amendment Three on the ballot.

During the press conference, Jon Cooper, director of the Metro Department of Law, explained the new regulations that are designed to phase in over the course of four years, providing contractors and workforce development agencies time to build Nashville’s construction workforce to meet the requirements of the law.

Key provisions in the implementation regulations include:

  • Designates Nashville Career Advancement Center (NCAC) as partner in finding and training Davidson County residents and low-income persons to work on Metro construction projects.
  • Specifies the detailed information that must be provided in the monthly payroll report in an electronic format as determined by the purchasing agent. Contractors would not get paid until the report is provided.
  • Includes an exception for emergency projects when there is a threat to public health, welfare or safety.
  • Includes a four-year phased-in penalty approach focused on helping contractors to comply with the new law.
  • Waivers for contractors who can show that there aren’t enough qualified workers in Davidson County to meet the provisions of the law.

The new regulations will be presented to the Procurement Standards Board for approval at their next available meeting. The NCRP will move forward utilizing existing resources while the administration prepares a supplemental budget request to the Metro Council that can be used to aid in efforts to recruit and train new construction workers for the jobs that are available.

The NCRP Summary and a comparison of the regulations proposed in October of 2015 and the new regulations arrived at through collaborative discussions are attached to the press release.