The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has included an element for the first time in a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) specifically designed to lift people out of poverty.
“The new Project Labor Agreement will open new doors to our local diversity businesses and workers in Santa Clara County in underserved demographics,” said John Wesley White, Santa Clara VTA deputy director and chief procurement Officer. “This PLA will create more economic opportunities than any project like it ever before”.
The Community Workforce Agreement within the PLA promotes careers in the construction industry for underrepresented workers while allowing the authority’s construction projects to proceed without labor disputes, in a timely and economically efficient manner.
Underrepresented workers include U.S. military veterans, those currently receiving public assistance, those emancipated from the foster care system, those currently participating in a reentry program or were formerly incarcerated and those that are currently homeless, among others.
Working Partnerships USA’s (WPUSA) Trades Orientation Program is just the training ground for workers who could join VTA construction projects that pay well and provide valuable skills.
“Our program receives hundreds of applications from under-represented community members who are looking for a hands-on, skilled, family-supporting career,” said Louise Auerhahn, director of economic and workforce policy for WPUSA. “By creating more entry-level apprentice job opportunities, VTA’s new Community Workforce Agreement will open doors for new workers to get their start, helping to expand and diversify our local skilled construction trades workforce.”
Santa Clara VTA has established PLAs in the past, specifically for Phase One of the BART Silicon Valley Extension. Now, for BART Phase Two, and all other VTA construction projects over $2 million, the new PLA is establishing a robust pipeline to recruit and train underrepresented workers into pre-apprenticeship programs, where they can then move into full apprenticeships at unions, thus getting on a pathway to stable, well-paying jobs.
This is VTA committing to help lift people out of poverty with the funding that’s provided for transportation infrastructure projects.