Baltimore Needs an Enforceable Community Benefits Agreement for the Port Covington Project
Published by Mark Coles
The Community Hub for Opportunities in Construction Employment (C.H.O.I.C.E.) is advocating for a comprehensive and legally enforceable community benefits agreement that requires employers to pay family sustainable wages and benefits while also providing formal mechanisms that will connect local residents to employment and apprenticeship training opportunities that result in the skill sets that last a lifetime and which lead to sustainable, middle-class construction careers.
Our building trades unions and our community allies – including and especially the coalition known as “Build Up Baltimore” – are tirelessly working to catapult victims of inequality into the middle class by prepping them for skilled trades apprenticeship programs.
But without an enforceable community benefits agreement for both local hiring and on-the-job apprenticeship training, neither of those efforts will equip inner city residents for lifelong, fulfilling careers in the trades. Put simply, Baltimore is lacking the formalized career training model of government/community/business/labor coalitions that has done wonders for other cities, like Boston, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as more rural areas like Augusta, GA and Birmingham, AL.
Absent such enforceable mechanisms that create jobs and career training pathways for new development utilizing taxpayer dollars, the city of Baltimore cannot fully rebuild.