Broward Commission Approves New Program to Find Jobs for the "Hard to Hire"

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

DATE: April 8, 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberly Maroe, Public Information Manager
Broward County Board of County Commissioners
PHONE: 954-357-8053

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - People who find it difficult to get a job may soon find many more opportunities for employment in Broward County. The Broward Commission has voted 5 to 4 in favor of enhancing the Broward County Workforce Investment Program designed to help those who are hard to hire. This would include the chronically unemployed, economically disadvantaged, veterans, people with felonies, the disabled and more. Variations of the program were originally proposed by Broward Commissioners Dale V.C. Holness and Lois Wexler and later amended by the Board after hours of discussion.

"This program will build and strengthen our community. "We're building the fabric of our community because it will get people jobs, reduce our costs for social services and induce businesses to hire these people. I think the community deserves this and we all can benefit," said Commissioner Holness.

"This should be focused on the hard to hire. It must be our intent as we move this forward. The objective are to encourage contractors to hire the economically disadvantaged or hard to hire," said Commissioner Wexler.

The program will encourage contractors awarded County funded projects in excess of $250,000 to utilize CareerSourceBroward and its contract partners as a first source when looking to hire at least 50 percent of the vacancies created by the County contract. The companies would have to post the job openings with CareerSourceBroward for five days and use good faith when interviewing potential candidates. Businesses are not mandated to hire individuals they interview.

"I would like to give this a shot. I'd like to see if this will give people who are hard to hire some work. I'd like to see if the policy works and help people who need a job, get one. There are no penalties here, just incentives," said Commissioner Martin David Kiar.

"This ordinance encourages businesses to first go through a resource that is known to help people who are hard to hire. It's also an incentive based approach for businesses doing business with the County," said Commissioner Kristin Jacobs.

Companies who hire more than 50 percent of those who qualify would receive a $500 incentive per full-time employee, up to $2,500. Contractors would also be given extra credit for the number of qualified new hires employed to complete the work. Extra points may also be given to employers who meet the hiring qualifications and bid on future County projects.

"I don't know why we need to pass anything. We put 11,000 back to work at the airport and the courthouse, without this. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state and the nation. It isn't that I'm not sympathetic, but government can't solve every problem for every human being. We can't possibly do that," said Commissioner Stacy Ritter.

"I'm for incentives, but I don't want to make this harder for businesses to do business with Broward County," said Commissioner Chip LaMarca.

Implementation policies for the new administrative rule will be written by the Broward County Attorney's Office and brought back before the Commission for final approval. 
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