UCSF is voluntarily committing to an ambitious goal for its new medical center at Mission Bay to hire a workforce averaging at least 20 percent San Francisco residents during the first year of the project, with a higher rate each subsequent year. Construction began in December on the $1.5 billion, 289-bed integrated hospital complex to serve children, women and cancer patients. The three new hospitals, which will set a world-class standard for patient- and family-centered health care, safety and sustainability, are scheduled to open in 2014. The second-largest employer in San Francisco, UCSF plays a major role in the economic health of the City, where the unemployment rate stands above nine percent. Under the new employment targets, the University will work toward the 20-percent local hire goal this year, followed by a 5 percent increase per year through the project’s completion. These goals would more than double UCSF’s historic average. “UCSF is building these new hospitals to better serve patients in our community,’’ said Cindy Lima, executive director of the UCSF Mission Bay Hospitals Project. “This project is an historic opportunity for us to put as many San Franciscans to work as possible. We have set an ambitious hiring target, but we recognize that the economic activity generated by the project can significantly benefit our neighbors and local residents.’’ As part of ongoing meetings with community members and other interested parties, Lima and UCSF Vice Chancellor Barbara J. French met Thursday with representatives of the Aboriginal Blackmen United (ABU). The ABU frequently has protested outside the construction site, including several days this week. French said that “progress was made” at the meeting toward mutual understanding of the University’s local hiring goals and how they will be reached. Last month, when construction began on the hospital project, UCSF exceeded its hiring goal with 22 percent of the workers coming from San Francisco, making up 27 percent of the total work hours on the project. UCSF will collaborate closely with its general contractor, DPR Construction, Inc., and major subcontractors to ensure that qualified San Francisco residents – including those from neighborhoods closest to the project site – have access to the construction jobs. Results will be reported on a regular basis, with the size of the workforce increasing markedly in the coming year, reaching its peak of approximately 1,000 workers in late 2012. “UCSF is committed to using its economic leverage to generate job opportunities for local residents,” French said. “The Mission Bay Hospitals Project will create jobs, allowing us to create employment opportunities for San Francisco residents – including those hardest hit by the ongoing economic downturn. The job opportunities won’t come all at once, but will be added incrementally over the life of this project.” A new law in San Francisco requires all city-funded construction projects to hit 20 percent local hires this year, rising 5 percent annually until a 50-percent goal is reached. But, as one of 10 campuses of a statewide constitutional corporation and public trust, UCSF is not subject to the City requirement. In fact, the University is legally prohibited from adopting mandatory workforce requirements based upon residency. Because UCSF has an historic commitment to ensuring that its construction projects provide employment opportunities for San Francisco residents, however, it voluntarily established a local hiring goal for the Mission Bay. In doing so, the University aims to strengthen its economic contributions to the San Francisco community, increase local employment and engage local unions in innovative partnerships. “We are mindful that while these goals challenge us, they are also within reach,’’ Lima said. “Our success will depend on the participation and commitment of the broader community and the trade unions.” UCSF has a long-standing record of improving economic conditions in San Francisco and has been engaged in creating job opportunities in the construction trades for San Franciscans since 1993. For more information, send questions and comments to email@example.com, visit http://missionbayhospitals.ucsf.edu/, or follow the project on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ucsfmbhospitals. The UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will include a 183-bed children’s hospital with urgent and emergency care, primary care and specialty outpatient services; a women’s hospital offering cancer care, specialty surgery and a 36-bed birth center; and a 70-bed adult hospital for cancer patients. A model of innovative design, the new complex incorporates the most advanced approaches to patient healing, comfort and safety. The entire project has been sustainably designed and is targeting LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.