Metropolitan Transportation Authority Embraces Construction Careers

September 22, 2011

Becoming the first major transit agency in the country to adopt such a policy, the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted Thursday to approve negotiations of a sweeping, agency-wide Construction Careers Policy. The policy will cover Metro construction projects for the next 30 years. Together, the projects total over $70 billion dollars in infrastructure investment and will create an estimated 260,000 construction jobs. The new policy will increase access to construction apprenticeship programs and guarantee good, quality jobs for communities hardest hit by the recession.

Apprenticeships will target disadvantaged workers and those from high-unemployment communities, offering career-track education and experience in the construction industry as well as specialized craft training and rigorous safety standards—critical for both worker safety and public safety on the completed projects.

“This policy brings together the taxpayers’ wishes for better public transportation and our critical need to get Americans back to work. At a time when jobs are being debated at the national level, Los Angeles is actually creating a jobs model other major cities can follow,” says Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “We have communities that are experiencing Depression-era levels of unemployment. The passage of this policy will put unprecedented numbers of unemployed electricians, sheet metal workers, iron workers, laborers and painters back to work in good jobs, as well as create new career opportunities through apprenticeships for young people who need jobs now.”

Metro’s Construction Careers Policy follows other initiatives that also seek to improve job quality and accessibility in the region. In May 2011, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a Construction Careers Policy at Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital, and in March 2011 the Exposition Line Authority approved a Construction Careers Policy for Phase II of the Exposition Line Project. Similar policies have been adopted at the Port of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles Department of Public works over the last year.