Creating Good Jobs in Our Communities

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Our economy is strong and growing in Los Angeles, which is good news for local businesses, residents and the city as a whole. In July of last year, I took on the task of heading up the City Council's new Jobs Committee with the purpose of finding ways the city can help stimulate job creation and focus on community-driven economic development throughout Los Angeles. Although this committee is relatively new -- we've had six very fruitful meetings so far -- the topic is something I've been working on for years.

One of the things the Jobs Committee discussed at a recent meeting is the city's Local Business Preference Program, a program that resulted from a motion I introduced five years ago. It provides a competitive advantage to LA County businesses that do business with the city by offering an eight percent preference when they apply for city contracts to provide goods, equipment, supplies and construction services. I created this program to encourage more local businesses to compete for city contracts, to ensure that city funds are used to give local businesses the upper hand and to stoke continued economic growth in LA.

Because local businesses are our job creation engines, I introduced a follow-up motion several months ago to evaluate how effective the local preference program has been, find out how many businesses are taking advantage of it and to explore ways to improve it. At a recent Jobs Committee meeting, we heard some of the preliminary results: over the course of the four years of the program, the percentage of contracts awarded to local businesses shot up from 16 percent in 2011 to 33 percent of all city contracts in 2015. That's a significant boost to our local businesses and the people they employ. 

We also discussed ways to improve the program and get more local businesses involved. Some of the recommendations approved by the committee include creating an outreach plan to notify businesses about this program and other city programs from which they can benefit; streamlining the process to certify that businesses are, in fact, eligible for the program; reviewing best practices with all city departments to enhance local business participation; directing more city resources toward administering and improving the program; and implementing a coordinated local business action plan. These recommendations will go to the Economic Development Committee, on which I also serve, and then to the full City Council for approval.

I will keep you updated about the local preference program and the overall progress of the Jobs Committee in future newsletters. As always, if you have ideas about how the city can better support local businesses and create good jobs in our communities, please email me at paul.krekorian@lacity.org or call 213-473-7002.