LONG BEACH - One thousand residents of the communities along the Alameda Corridor will receive job training under a sweeping program approved today by the Corridorís governing board.
The program, approved unanimously by the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA), also requires that at least 30 percent of the work being done by new hires to residents of the Corridor communities.
Separately, the governing board established a goal of awarding 22 percent of Alameda Corridor work to disadvantaged businesses.
The programs were developed with extensive input from members of Congress, community groups, unions and job-training agencies.
"These programs were critical elements of the project because we always wanted to ensure that the Alameda Corridor be of direct benefit to local residents, not just the regional and national economies," said ACTA board chairman Jeff Kellogg, a Long Beach City Councilman. "This shows what we can accomplish when we work cooperatively."
The Alameda Corridor is a 20-mile railroad freight expressline linking the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the transcontinental rail yards just east of downtown Los Angeles. The project will speed the flow of cargo by consolidating rail lines, and straightening portions of the tracks. It will also improve the flow of vehicle traffic in the area by widening roadways and separating them from railroad tracks. Construction of the $2 billion project began last year and is scheduled for completion in 2001.
Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan noted that ACTA is going beyond state and federal guidelines to assist the jobless and disadvantaged businesses.
The Alameda Corridor is a key piece of our region's international trade puzzle," Riordan said. "These two elements will ensure that Corridor neighbors and local small businesses have an opportunity to share in the Corridor's development."
Long Beach Mayor Beverly O'Neill also praised the jobs program.
"The Alameda Corridor is a vital component of our economic recovery because of the construction jobs it will provide to area residents who need them the most," O'Neill said. "The jobs program approved today is a milestone."
The Job Development and Training Program applies to the middle section of the Corridor project, a 10-mile-long trench expected to cost $500 million - $700 million. A contractor is expected to be selected in September. The trench portion of the project was chosen because it carries the largest dollar value, has the longest duration and allows for greater coordination and accountability through a single contractor.
Under the terms of the program, the contractor must:
Establish pre-apprenticeship training centers in the Corridor communities. The goal is for 650 local residents to receive pre-apprenticeship training and 350 to receive non-trade training.
Encourage unions to assign graduates of pre-apprenticeship programs to Union Apprenticeship Programs, other Alameda Corridor work and other projects in the region.
Ensure that at least 30 percent of all work done by new hires go to residents of the Corridor communities.
Provide quarterly reports to ACTA demonstrating compliance with requirements for job training and new worker hiring.
ACTA has the authority to withhold payments or terminate the contract if the contractor fails to meet program goals.
Community-based organizations, Private Industry Councils and various public agencies will help recruit enrollees for the training programs and provide list of qualified workers.
Officials said the program is unique because of the effort to train residents and direct them to union jobs, and because of its far-reaching participation.
The program is good for Los Angeles and other corridor cities, according to Rudy
Svorinich, vice chairman of the ACTA board and a Los Angeles City Councilman.
"The Alameda Corridor passes through communities struggling with high unemployment, low incomes and other problems," Svorinich said. "These programs guarantee those residents will benefit from the project."