Local and targeted hiring policies require or incentivize businesses that receive public resources, such as government contracts or tax breaks, to hire workers living in a particular geographic area or from specific populations within the community. This is usually done by revising employers’ hiring procedures to build in connections with referral sources that can promptly send qualified local and targeted workers in response to employer requests. Employers are generally given benchmarks (a certain share of jobs or working hours) to try to achieve by using this system. These programs advance inclusive growth by increasing job access for workers who face barriers to employment, improve economic security by increasing employment and household incomes, and benefit businesses by identifying a reliable source of local workers.
Targeted hiring policies are intended to ensure that a fair share of jobs created by public dollars benefit those with the greatest need, and can be based on a range of worker characteristics, such as veteran status, sex, race or ethnicity (where allowed), residency in a low-income neighborhood, prior incarceration, disability, or long-term unemployment. Critics argue that local hiring requirements reduce the number of bids for government contracts and drive up costs for businesses and municipalities. However, in cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle, local and targeted hiring programs have added millions of dollars in wages and tax revenues to their local economies.
In addition to the PolicyLink resources listed on the right, see the Partnership for Working Families and the UCLA Labor Center for more resources on local and targeted hiring.