Brightline 2015 Year in Review
Local Hiring Gains Traction Nationwide
Five years after the passage of San Francisco's landmark Local Hiring Policy for Construction, San Francisco's local hiring has jumped from 20% in 2010 to 45%, and construction worksites saw increased gender and racial diversity. Across the nation, local hiring is rapidly gaining traction as an anti-poverty tool, and Brightline is proud to be expanding its local hiring efforts in California, New Jersey, and on the federal level.
Strong Job Policies Needed Throughout California
Expanding its reach beyond San Francisco, Brightline's legal and policy team has increased its presence in both Sacramento and regional workforce development systems. Throughout December, the state's key workforce agency, the California Workforce Investment Board, hosted regional events for local system partners, local workforce board members, business, and labor. After attending the Greater Bay Area convening on December 14, Brightline will advocate for strong job placement strategies in comment filings throughout January 2016.
Local Hiring Reform in New Jersey
Throughout 2015, Brightline has also ramped up its efforts in New Jersey, aiming to improve local hiring numbers in Newark, Jersey City, and beyond. In the last year alone, Brightline participated in a workforce development conference, testified in a legislative hearing in Trenton, and drafted local legislation that passed in Newark. Through its efforts, Brightline has already created innovative workforce opportunities in Newark's residential energy efficiency market. As Jersey City's main workforce development agency, the Jersey City Employment and Training Program has subsequently characterized Brightline as the "state's top advisor" on local hiring.
Local Hiring on Federal Projects
While cities across the country have moved to enact new local hiring policies, the federal government has also now taken unprecedented action allowing local hiring pilots on federally funded projects. With support from the Surdna Foundation, Brightline published its September 2015 report and policy guidance on this exciting trend: Local Hiring Hits the Road. With the help of legal fellow Dilini Lankachandra and policy fellow Kenneth Zhou, Brightline has subsequently provided further technical assistance to jurisdictions in the South as well.
Solar for Our Communities
On December 15, solar advocates in California celebrated an early victory for clean energy as the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision to extend net metering (NEM) largely in its current form. This decision caps an intensive campaign by solar advocates stretching over the year, and Brightline engaged on multiple levels to support more solar for everyone.
In March, Brightline, along with 15 other social justice leaders, sent a powerful advocacy letter and noted how communities of color have disproportionately borne fossil fuel pollution. Brightline has also brought dozens of solar workers and trainees, local community activists, and organized labor to past rallies at the California Public Utilities Commission. In October, these efforts were supplemented by a poll showing the demand for solar reaching new heights.
Scaling Up Brightline's Role in Solar and Energy Efficiency
Brightline continues to be a leading workforce and environmental justice policy intervenor at the California Public Utilities Commission. Scaling up its presence statewide, Brightline has also supported Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), a 20-year-old nonprofit institution in Los Angeles that promotes the civic participation and representation of Salvadoran and other Latino American communities. In November, Brightline attended the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) Summits in Los Angeles and in San Francisco, convened by Natural Resources Defense Council and California Housing Partnership. A number of new opportunities have since arisen to continue Brightline's legal, policy, and community organizing work on behalf of clean energy.
To the Grassroots
Creating an innovative proposal for education and job training that targets San Francisco's youth most in need, Brightline combined forces with three major community-based organizations: A. Philip Randolph Institute, Community Youth Center, and Mission Hiring Hall. Spanning diverse communities and neighborhoods across the city, this partnership aims to provide comprehensive services focused on outreach and recruitment of in-school and out-of-school youth for work opportunities.
"The Coldest Winter I Ever Spent”
Brightline was fortunate to have the opportunity to provide fiscal support for Aboriginal Blackman United (ABU)'s Coats For Kids drive earlier this year. The event hosted lunch for parents and provided over 1000 brand new coats for excited youth from Bayview-Hunters Point. Through this event made possible by many sponsors such as the Burlington Coat Factory, Brightline remains ever mindful of the old adage:
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
To date, our work has been made possible by the Surdna Foundation, Walter and Elise Haas Sr. Fund, The San Francisco Foundation, Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Argosy Foundation, Langeloth Foundation, and many individual contributors.
Happy New Year!
Eddie H. Ahn