New report reveals San Jose building projects employ large out-of-town temporary workforce, offer few opportunities for under-represented communities

Earlier this week, Working Partnerships USA, released a report with new data revealing that City of San Jose building projects are employing a largely out-of-town temporary workforce and offering few opportunities for historically under-represented communities. Over the next five years, the City of San Jose is projected to spend $1.42 billion on public construction projects.

The report also addressed policy solutions – namely, how Community Workforce Agreements / Project Labor Agreements could be used as a tool to uphold workplace standards while setting hiring goals that create new construction career pathways for local residents, especially young workers or those with barriers to employment.

Historically, African-Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and women have been severely under-represented in construction employment. While the industry as a whole has made considerable progress in opening up access – with union construction apprenticeships showing ongoing increases in minority representation – the City of San Jose projects are lagging behind. Out of a sample of 795 workers on projects completed between 2015 and 2016, the research found that:

  •  15 workers were Asian or Pacific Islander (1.9%);
  •  5 were Black or African-American (0.63%); and
  • 6 were women (0.75%).

These numbers contrast sharply with the overall Santa Clara County workforce, of whom 34% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 2.3% are Black or African-American, and 43% are female.

Additionally, only one-quarter (26%) of workers on the projects studied lived in San Jose. Another 9% lived elsewhere in Santa Clara County, leaving nearly two-thirds (65%) of the workforce originating from outside Santa Clara County. The average worker lived 57 miles away from their worksite.

You can read more about the report in the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

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