BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City may launch a new requirement to land city contracting jobs.
Political reporter Pat Warren explains Council President Jack Young is introducing a bill to hire more city residents.
Baltimore resident Gershwin Hardy has been looking for a job for six months. He’s one of thousands of job seekers at the city’s job centers.
“I’ve seen people up here every day looking for work–get on a computer, bustin’ their butt from 8 o’clock until the time this place closes,” said Hardy.
Brian Samuels has been out of work for two years.
“There’s many people in Baltimore City that’s looking for work every day. We just don’t get the opportunity,” said Samuels.
City Council President Jack Young wants to open opportunities by requiring contractors to fill 51 percent of new positions with city residents.
“We need to make our tax dollars work for our citizens,” said Young.
Here’s a comparison of area unemployment rates: Howard County has 5.1 percent, Anne Arundel has 6.2 percent, Baltimore County has 7.3 percent and Baltimore City has 10.4 percent.
“When you look at Baltimore with our unemployment rate being the highest anywhere in the state and I can almost say anywhere in the country, we have to do something,” said Young.
And with the city spending millions in infrastructure improvements, Young says residents should get 51 percent of the jobs those improvements create.
“And if we have them start hiring locally, we can realize more money into our system,” said Young.
And invest in the city and its citizens at the same time.
“I think that’s a fabulous idea,” said one resident.
A spokesman for the mayor says she’ll be looking closely at the bill as part of the legislative process.
Council President Young is introducing his bill Monday night.