Policy & Tools: Targeted Hiring and First Source Referral Systems

One concrete way to ensure that public investment in private development benefits low-income communities is to establish targeted hire requirements. Targeted hire requirements create opportunities for low-income people to get jobs – they create demand.

Good first source referral systems create the pipeline of qualified workers from low-income areas prepared to meet that demand.

Community benefits coalitions advocate for targeted hire requirements in order to target opportunities to low-income residents and people of color who might otherwise not benefit from new development. Targeted hiring programs are on the strongest legal footing, and are likely to produce the most meaningful outcomes, when they are rooted in efforts to reduce poverty rather than merely to hire city residents.

Across the country, targeted hire programs have developed effective mechanisms for helping low-income local residents find jobs at new development sites and have created job opportunities with existing employers that had previously been unavailable to many low-income workers. Documents and links included here include examples of:

  • Strong policy language which sets the stage for success by clearly defining the responsibilities of all stakeholders: developers, employers, contractors and the first source referral system.
  • Implementation insights and anecdotes that provide some guideposts for creating and maintaining a first source referral system.
  • Jobs and hiring outcomes that show these programs at work.

The Partnership’s report, Making Development Work for Local Residents: Local Hire Programs and Implementation Strategies That Serve Low-Income Communities, documents successful implementation of nine programs that are generating hundreds of new job opportunities for low-income residents. Read the report to learn more about what makes a program successful and how to set up an implementation team.

Other Targeted Hiring and First Source Referral Resources

Replicating Success: The Alameda Corridor Job Training and Employment Program- A Replication Manual for Winning and Implementing Community-Based Jobs Programs on Public Construction Projects. Lisa Rhangelli. Center for Community Change, 2002.

Winning Construction Jobs for Local Residents: A User's Guide for Community Organizing Campaigns. Kate Rubin and Dough Slater. Brennan Center for Justice, July 2005.

Building in Good Jobs: Linking Economic and Workforce Development with Real Estate-Led Development. Laura Wolf-Powers, Jeremy Reiss and Margaret Stix. Pratt Center for Community Development, 2006.

City and County of San Francisco First Source Hiring Program: Chapter 83. Link is to American Legal's website. Expand the list of chapters on the left panel to find this particular chapter.

Examples of Targeted Hire Programs (Construction Jobs)

Examples of Targeted Hire Programs (Construction and Permanent Jobs)