Friday, March 18, 2011

NCJC Looks at First Source, Second Chance

The NEW First Source Law

District of Columbia Workforce Intermediary Establishment and Reform of First Source and Living Wage Amendment Act of 2011

NCJC has reviewed the new First Source Law as amended by Council members H. Thomas, M. Brown and Chairman Kwame Brown.  This law looks like a good strategic approach to establishing DC worker primacy at all DC supported businesses in the District.  Here’s what we like and what we don’t like.

  • The law eliminates the “percent of new hires strategy” and substitutes it with percentage of hours worked.  This is good because it will be much harder to fudge those numbers based upon reported payroll.

  • Workforce Intermediary Task Force – Mayor Gray is directed to form a task force to investigate “best practices” in other cities who have such laws and to report back for inclusion in the enforcement and implementation of the law..
    • We want to see more citizens on the task force and fewer city officials.
  • Workforce Intermediary Program – 2 months from the end of the task force work, a program called the Workforce Intermediary Program will be set in place.  It will meet with and structure the individual relationships with prospective businesses covered under the First Source legislation.   If First Source will have the force of law behind it then, this will be excellent. 
  •  Establishment of a District of Columbia Jobs Trust Fund – This will be funded by donations etc., but will also receive funds levied as fines and penalties on those who disobey the new First Source Law.    
    • fund will be used to pay for enforcement and implementation of the law.Important – The Fund will be protected from scavenging by the general fund, or appropriation for any other purpose.

5.     We do not like the present practice of DCES being the source for companies looking for qualified workers here in DC.  A central data base needs to be built that registers workers and qualifications in a standard format, so that employers can find DC residents with the job skills they want.
As with all such legislation implementation and enforcement will be key.   If the fund is used for that purpose and employers are on notice that this will happen, then it will level the playing field and compliance will be much easier to assure.  Note: This is a brief summary of the plan a more detailed assessment will be forthcoming.