DeKalb County officials say they are getting ready to put DeKalb residents in some of the 4,000 jobs expected to be created by its watershed improvement project over the next several years.
The county will use its First Source ordinance to ensure that many of the jobs go to DeKalb residents, according to Sheryl Chapman, director of DeKalb Workforce Development (DWD).
The First Source ordinance is “a public regulation that requires contractors and beneficiaries to make a good faith effort to hire 50 percent of all jobs using the First Source Registry” candidate database, according to the county’s website.
In accordance with the ordinance, recipients of county revitalization grants and contracts of $50,000 or more “are required to use DeKalb residents,” Chapman said. “That compliance statement is part of the contract.”
Fifty percent of any new hiring must come from the First Source registry, Chapman said.
DeKalb Workforce Development pre-screens applicants, markets open positions and conducts job fairs.
Contractors are required to provide job descriptions for all open positions which, in turn, are required to be posted on DWD’s First Source Registry candidate database.
“We do screening and recruiting…but the contractor has all hiring authority,” Chapman said.
Through the First Source ordinance, the county will perform “strong monitoring” of the contractors’ hiring.
“If a contractor cannot find enough workers from the registry, he must say why,” Chapman said.
If DWD sends a list of qualified, screened potential employees to a contractor, and he says he cannot find good candidates, “that would raise a red flag,” Chapman said.
“We would need to know why,” she said.
In addition to recruiting and screening potential employees, DWD provides short-term occupational skills training.
For example, DWD provides welding certification.
“Someone may have experience and need to get that credential,” Chapman said.
DWD then sends the person to one of its approved schools such as Georgia Piedmont Technical College.
“We’ve asked them to customize training specifically for this project,” Chapman said.
Chapman said the county will also be working with Goodwill Industries’ NEW Choices for Women program that helps low-income women get hands-on training program in the construction industry.
Since November, approximately 2,800 people have registered or updated their First Source profiles, Chapman said. More than 100 people have received occupational skills training at various schools.
“Some are in preparation for the CIP and some are just for employment,” she said.
In addition to various construction jobs, Chapman said she also expects administrative and payroll positions to be available in the watershed project.
“The CIP should allow various people to find jobs,” Chapman. “It’s a business. You need all types of people.”