District 6 City Councilmember Desley Brooks is sponsoring an ordinance that would set aside 5 percent of the city’s capital improvement project costs to support some of the city’s most successful construction job training programs.
The money would go to the Cypress Mandela Training Program and Citywide Job Centers, which are often utilized by contractors and building trades unions in projects they are backing.
The ordinance, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Larry Reid and Rebecca Kaplan, is scheduled to be heard at the council’s Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee meeting, Tuesday, Jan. 23 at Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 1.
Construction is booming, there is a shortage of workers, but Oakland residents do not necessarily gain access to jobs in the industry, according to Brooks.
“We should be supporting programs like this, which will help grow and shape our community and allow people who have been here to continue to stay here, doing work that is a career, not just a job,” she said.
“At present, we use these programs, but there is no money attached,” said Brooks. “People talk about utilizing students from these programs, who train for months for no pay.”
The money to support the program would come from taxes and bonds that are paid by Oakland residents, Brooks said.
Cypress Mandela Training Center offers a 16-week pre-apprenticeship program for Bay Area men and women over 18 years old. Training is both hands-on and in the classroom and prepares students for skilled trades jobs that are relevant to today’s construction industry.
Another program is the West Oakland Job Resource Center (WOJRC), a place to learn about and prepare for careers in the building and construction trades.
Those who want to speak at the CED meeting in support of the ordinance may fill out a speaker card.