NOAH’s Progress in Economic Equity & Jobs Issues
- Passing local hire amendment for large Metro projects to have 40% local workers. Later over-ruled by the State Legislature.
- Working with Mayor’s Office to develop special training program, “Nashville Construction Readiness Program,” to be implemented in coming months.
- 130 NOAH members meeting with Mayor’s staff on solutions to Unemployment and Poverty Jobs.
- Helping create “Nashville Stand Up” Coalition with other groups to act for equitable development. In February 2017, over 120 people came together to learn about “Community Benefit Agreements,” which can be used to specify benefits that come to the community from large public investments.
WHERE WE ARE
- Very low unemployment rate of three percent, but unemployment over ten percent in eleven Metro Council Districts.
- Almost one out of five Nashville residents in poverty. Poverty over 20% in 16 Metro Council Districts. District 19 has 42% poverty — but will get an $18 million bridge connecting the Gulch to SoBro.
- 21% of adults in poverty are employed; 36.3% of Nashville residents are poor or working poor.
- Nashville Business Journal worries about city’s widening gap between haves and have-nots. “Forget traffic. This has the potential to become the most important issue facing business in Nashville.”
- Incredible barriers to employment for some residents, including criminal records, lack of transportation, and need for training.
- Most large construction companies in Nashville do not invest in training funds to retrain the workforce. Therefore, they are creating a shortage of skilled labor.
- Metro offers millions in tax incentives to companies to expand or relocate in Nashville; but often the details of such deals, including jobs created and training provided for local residents, are not clear.
- Employers, including Metro government, often convert one full-time job into two part-time jobs to avoid paying benefits and keep salaries low. Many workers must piece together several such jobs.
- The Nashville Career Advancement Center is attempting to address systemic poverty. However, what is currently being done is not solving the problem. Unemployed people needing critical services are not connected to these. NCAC now has a new director who has met with NOAH leaders about NCAC’s passive workplace culture, and lack of credibility in the communities the programs exist to serve. The new director is much more community oriented and is looking to NOAH for help.
- Continue working to improve the “Nashville Construction Readiness Partnership” begun by the Mayor, to truly connect job training and jobs through apprenticeships.
- Having Metro Council informed about community benefits of any project that receives public incentives BEFORE the incentives are approved.
- Find ways for Metro Government to be a model employer in stopping the conversion of full-time jobs into part‑time ones.
- Focus the attention of Metro Government on areas of high poverty and unemployment, such as the federal Promise Zone, which has 37% poverty.
A pdf of NOAH’s platform on economic equity and jobs is here.