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The 10th District is transforming. Transportation projects are booming, and housing developments and new industries, such as bioscience, are going up all around us. One thing is certain: good jobs and career-building opportunities for the residents of the district must accompany this economic surge.

We can never stop fighting for fair wages, safe working conditions and something more — the ability of workers from all backgrounds and all walks of life to thrive and prosper. Organized labor is crucial to maintaining a middle-class standard of life not just for its members, but for our entire community. Carpenters, firefighters, hospitality workers, in-home care and workers in many other trades are vital to our economy and the backbone of our communities.

When unions recruit a diverse workforce that is genuinely representative of the community, they are stronger and more successful. That’s why Mark Ridley-Thomas has collaborated with labor to implement Project Labor Agreements, as well as local hiring and small business targets at both the County and Metro.

Groundbreaking for the Gramercy Place Apartments
Groundbreaking for the Gramercy Place Apartments

Local hiring requirements are key. They are one of the best ways to ensure that the residents experiencing the inconveniences that accompany building booms also experience the economic upside — employment.

Providing employment, however, isn’t enough. We have to position our youth to prosper in this new economy.

So, in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MRT is developing California’s first public urban boarding school. The SEED School of Los Angeles will prepare students (boys and girls) for careers in engineering, design, architecture and the various other professional trades that are essential to advancing our local infrastructure transformation.

The overarching goal? Provide residents with economic opportunity and wages that can sustain families from the time they enter the workforce to the time they retire.