Fund Jobs in our Communities
There is a critical need for funding to rebuild our physical infrastructure – roads, bridges and public buildings. However, often lost in the political debate is the critical need to fund “social infrastructure” – childcare, elder care, home health care, youth programs, tutoring and other community service jobs. These jobs are held predominately by women, and largely women of color. There is also a critical need to begin developing the “soft” infrastructure that the City will need to put in place to address Climate Change and Peak Oil & Gas, jobs that can provide immediate employment for low-skilled workers and can serve as a ladder to permanent employment.
Improving our existing Community Jobs Program
In 2001, the Community Jobs Program (CJP) was established in an agreement between the San Francisco Living Wage Coalition and then-Mayor Willie Brown. The Community Jobs Program is an on-the-job-training program in non-public-sector community service jobs under the Human Services Agency. The original objective was to help provide opportunities for living wage jobs to parents currently in the welfare-to-work transition who face the greatest barriers to steady employment while providing a monthly income to meet basic survival needs.
However, since no controlling legislation was ever passed to guide this program, it has been difficult to uphold standards and track progress and few participants have transitioned to living wage jobs.
The Board Of Supervisors should take the following actions to improve the CJP program:
- Use the City’s monitoring and research resources to track the results of the CJP program;
- Pass controlling legislation, based on the platform below to increase the effectiveness of the CJP.
1. Community jobs programs shall have minimum livable wage rates, support and benefits
The community service jobs shall provide the minimum rate that includes the most recent annual cost-of-living adjustment and paid days off set in the Minimum Compensation Ordinance.
CJP participants shall be paid for all work-related activities, including the initial period of job readiness training and any other weekly training.
CJP Participants currently in CalWORKs shall continue receiving supports for child care, transportation, work clothes (including for everyday work not just job interviews) and ancillary services, as well as MediCal, along with receiving vision and dental care, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
CJP Participants currently in the CAAP program shall be covered by the Health Care Accountability Ordinance, along with receiving vision and dental care, and would be afforded the full benefits of the PAES Earned Income and Asset Disregard Program and wages earned shall qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
2. The city shall have minimum recruitment goals for community jobs program participants
The Human Services Agency shall actively recruit willing participants to reach a goal of 850 participants – 600 parents with children from CalWORKs, the state welfare-to-work program, and 250 single adults from the County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP).
3. Community jobs programs shall design length of placement and work week to meet participant’s needs
CJP participants shall have the option to work a 40-hour work week if they so choose a longer work week than the federal minimum requirement of 32 hours per week.
The time that participants are in CJP shall be extended so that they can meet the minimum qualifications for entry-level city jobs. Most entry-level city jobs require a minimum of one year of related experience. If participants are only in the program for 32 hours per week, they would need 65 weeks, or 15 months, to have the equivalent of one full year of full-time work experience. The length of the placements, and the hours available per week, need to be adjusted to meet the minimum requirements for entry-level city jobs. All work-related activities, including job readiness training, shall be counted towards the required length of related experience.
4. Fair Hearing and Grievance Procedures shall apply to community jobs programs
Fair Hearing rights and Grievance procedures shall apply to all participants in the Community Jobs Program. All CJP participants shall be informed of these rights.
5. Community jobs shall meet employment experience and training criteria for entry-level City jobs
The Human Services Agency shall work with the Department of Human Resources to develop a set of criteria so that the jobs for CJP would be designed in order to meet requirements for entry-level city job classifications. The Human Services Agency shall work with civil service to match the work experience in non-public-sector community-service jobs with the minimum qualifications for entry-level city jobs, most of which require a year of related experience. The program would provide participants with an opportunity to acquire relevant experience and references to help meet minimum qualifications for identified employment opportunities.
Department of Human Resources should also be involved in developing better standards for job training to better suit the needs of the City and County of San Francisco as a potential employer. The Human Services Agency shall focus lesson plans to keep participants interested. In addition, the job readiness training should include training that is specific to the job fields in which participants are interested. There should be a set curriculum for the computer classes, including incorporating Mavis Beacon typing programs. There also should be a structured curriculum for Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) classes.
The Community Jobs Program shall make participants eligible to apply for city jobs. Participants would have the opportunity to move into entry-level city jobs as openings become available as well as being prepared for job searches in the private sector job market. The City and County shall fast-track Community Jobs Program participants into available entry-level city jobs. The entry-level positions would be a track to good-paying City jobs. The Department of Human Resources would identify public service trainee classifications, with pay grade improvements at least every year, that would count as training and experience towards a well-paying position; and for these positions, the Department of Human Resources would change minimum qualifications that require a college degree in addition to job experience to include only length of related experience when it solely suffices. The public service trainee classifications would have the protection of a collective bargaining agreement and union representation.
6. Develop a plan for community service jobs with organized labor, community-based organizations and CalWORKs recipients
San Francisco City and County shall collaborate with organized labor, community-based organizations and CalWORKs recipients to develop a plan for community service jobs. CJP jobs will never be used to eliminate existing higher paid jobs. The priority for expanding slots is in non-public sector, non-profit positions. Non-profit services have been heavily hit by City budget cuts and need the additional support of subsidized employment. Having our tax dollars subsidize for-profit businesses could lead to undermining the union standard. Even if union jobs are not displaced, giving public subsidies to non-union businesses creates unfair competition and poses the threat of job loss to workers without the protection of a union contract. On-the-job training positions possibly could be created in City departments but would require the agreement and monitoring by appropriate unions so that the positions do not displace family-supporting city jobs, or slow the reinstatement of laid-off city employees.
7. Create new forms of community jobs programs to expand participation by those most vulnerable
Not all groups of workers are able to access job training programs. Immigrants are not able to get into the CalWORKs program to participate in the Community Jobs Program. Non-profit organizations could partner with other forms of organization such as workers centers and worker cooperatives to administer paid on-the-job-training programs. Non-profit organization could assist house cleaners, house painters and landscapers in organizing worker cooperatives and hiring halls, and training them in the use of environmentally friendly materials and chemicals to make these Green Jobs.
A Green New Deal Works Program
Given the direction of the economy and increasing unemployment, the city’s green economy goals will have to be implemented through direct public works programs, especially around urban sustainability. While the administrations talks about “jobs stimulus” programs that essentially gut funding for public infrastructure, we believe, as most economists do, that the right kind of stimulus in a recession is direct jobs creation. This jobs program would be linked to the city’s goals of stimulating a Green Economy (as described below), but rather than taking an incentives and regulation approach, takes a radical break in centering the work on government-led works program.
Currently, a national alliance, headed by the Center for Community Change, the AFL-CIO, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Council of La Raza, and others, has developed a 5-point platform of demands that meets needs of communities of color. One of these points is a demand for a “community jobs” program to put 1 million people to work immediately. From the Jobs with Justice statement on the “Jobs for America Now” campaign:
“Corporate America has not only caused the deepest economic crisis since the great depression. They are using this crisis to try to fundamentally restructure the economy for generations to come. They seek to redefine “normal,” to be an economy that enriches the top but permanently eliminates good jobs with benefits and shreds any expectation for decent retirement, public services and a social safety net. Through their uncontrolled greed, deregulation and privatization they crashed the world economy. They expect us to bail them out, while blocking a recovery for the rest of us. There is no such thing as a jobless recovery, and we need to begin now to organize to ensure that the vision pushed by the big banks and corporations does not become a reality. In fact this is our opportunity to reclaim full employment as a national goal in a new economy that benefits Main Street, not Wall Street. Together we can reclaim America those of us who work hard every day, not hedge fund mangers and other speculators.”
8. Create a Green New Deal works program, prioritizing development of the City’s sustainability infrastructure, including urban agriculture and food security, restoration programs, stormwater retention, and building retrofits.
We propose that a primary objective of the city’s economic development policy should be the implementation of a Green New Deal, a local municipal jobs program modeled on the WPA and CETA, to develop SF’s sustainability goals. While workers go without jobs, important work is left undone in our communities. In the 1970s, CETA supported large amounts of employment in nonprofits, esp. important now given the impacts on health and human services providers. There are possible Federal and State funds available for job training and Green Jobs. The city should make lobbying State and Federal government for funding and developing such a program a priority. These are not replacements for existing unionized public jobs. They must pay competitive wages, and should provide immediate employment opportunities to those most in need. We should put people to work restoring our environment, providing child care and tutoring, cleaning up abandoned houses and more.
Urban Agriculture and Food Security. It should be a priority of the city to create access to sustainable locally grown food for low-income communities. There are a number of great urban agriculture examples in San Francisco and in the Bay, but they are small, underfunded, and dependent on volunteers. The city needs to be able to reach the scale necessary to ensure real food security and healthy food for low-income communities. The idea would be to take the Alemany Farm model to a larger scale, looking, for example, at underutilized school properties and other underused sites.
Restoration programs. Working with Rec & Park staff, a jobs program could help restore the city’s open spaces (from neighborhood parks to McLaren Park to the golf courses), focusing on both restoration of native habitat and ecosystems, and food production.
Stormwater retention. One of the largest sources of water pollution to streams and rivers, and the San Francisco Bay Delta, that is devastating our fisheries and environment are the pulses of pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides and cleaning solvents carried by rainstorms from homes and gardens. Emissions from solvents and chemical materials contribute to air pollution. Lead in old paint and other heavy metals contribute to soil and water contamination. A jobs program could work with the PUC goals to develop bioremediation programs, create permeable paving, cisterns, etc., as well as recreating wetlands along Bay edge, to help recharge Bay waters.
Energy Efficiency. Similarly, workers could be organized and trained to do energy audits, caulking and weather stripping. Non-profit organizations could direct home owners to these trained workers and assist home owners in taking advantage of federal rebate programs for weatherization. See Energy Efficiency section below.
Cultural Work. “Green Jobs” need to be reframed as socially useful jobs, including important arts and cultural work that strengthen the social fabric of the city and support one of San Francisco’s key strengths: its cultural economy. See Cultural Economy section below.