New UCSF program promotes community hiring at all major campus construction projects

By Bill Gordon

A new agreement between UC San Francisco and a consortium of community-based
agencies establishes a comprehensive system to promote local hiring on all
major campus construction projects, including UCSF Mission Bay.

The new UCSF Community Construction Workforce Program, patterned after a pilot
project that significantly increased local hiring and workforce diversity at
UCSF/Mount Zion construction sites, begins immediately with construction of
UCSF’s first building at Mission Bay.  Future campus construction projects
also will incorporate the workforce hiring program, including buildings
developed by the UCSF Mission Bay Campus LLC, UCSF’s public-private partnership
with the Bay Area Life Sciences Alliance.

“The program is designed to ensure that community groups work together with
building contractors to maximize the number of local residents who will help
build UCSF Mission Bay—and all major campus projects.  With the experience
gained from the Mount Zion construction program, we expect even greater success
with this expanded program,” said Steve Jack, manager of major projects for
UCSF Facilities Management.

The fundamental goal of the program is to provide access to construction jobs
for all qualified local residents - many of whom traditionally have been
excluded from the hiring process.  The program imposes no hiring quotas but
sets goals for local hiring on each project.  It also creates a mechanism
within the construction hiring process to ensure that resident workers are
considered at the time job opportunities become available at the journey level
or through the creation of apprenticeship positions.

For the first building project at the UCSF Mission Bay campus, a laboratory
building at 16th and Owens streets, the lead agency in the program will be
Young Community Developers, Inc.  The Bayview-Hunters Point-based group was
selected to lead this phase of the UCSF construction program by other members
of a consortium of community-based agencies involved in the program.

“This program represents a great opportunity for UCSF to engage in a
partnership with the community that has the potential to exceed hiring goals
and truly achieve community inclusion through the hiring of local workers,”
said Dwayne Jones, executive director of Young Community Developers.
The other agencies participating in the program are Chinese for Affirmative
Action, Mission Hiring Hall, Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, Potrero Hill
Neighborhood House, San Francisco Building Trades Council, and the Glide
Memorial Church Construction Program.

Jones expects the program to see greater success in placing local workers in
construction jobs as the community-based agencies continue to develop more
sophisticated referral methods and additional training programs.

“Contractors are going to be asked to create as many new job opportunities as
possible for those who traditionally have been excluded,” he said.

Michael Adams, director of the UCSF Office of Affirmative Action, Equal
Opportunity, and Diversity, expects the program to produce a construction
workforce that reflects UCSF’s diversity.

“We hope to see a more diverse workforce at all levels - entry, apprentice and
journey - as a result of these efforts to increase local hiring,’ Adams said.

To succeed, the workforce program relies on making contractors aware of
qualified local workers in a timely manner.  Terry Rawlins, construction
compliance officer with the UCSF Office of Affirmative Action, Equal
Opportunity, and Diversity, developed and monitored the Mount Zion program and
will continue as UCSF coordinator of the expanded program.  Rawlins carefully
monitors the construction schedule for UCSF projects to inform the
community-based agencies about when hiring opportunities will become available
for workers in specific building trades.

The workforce program emphasizes hiring goals contained in the contract and
ensures that discussions take place with community-based agencies at the time
work crews are being assembled for specific portions of the overall project.  A
pre-bid conference takes place with all candidates interested in bidding on a
UCSF contract and after bids are awarded two preconstruction conferences take
place to ensure prime contractors and subcontractors discuss their hiring needs
directly with the community based agencies.

As part of the pilot project, Rawlins developed a detailed database to track
all work hours for major construction projects at Mount Zion from July 1, 1993
through June 30, 1997.  This period included the construction of a major new
research laboratory building and a new medical office building.

The Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, which is based in the Western Addition
neighborhood where Mount Zion is located, served as lead agency during the
pilot project, providing local workers whenever possible for the projects under
a memorandum of understanding with UCSF.  The database tracked 550,000 work
hours involving 3,100 workers, more than 240 contractors, and 22 different
building trades.

“The goal of the memorandum of understanding was to improve hiring among the
local workforce.  And better utilization of local workers produces a more
diverse workforce,” he said.

When comparing hiring figures for the Mount Zion program to other UCSF
construction projects completed under traditional hiring methods, Rawlins found
the following:

* San Francisco residents provided 20.5 percent of the total work hours at the
  Mount Zion jobs compared to 14 percent of the work hours at other sites.
* Women, minority women, and minority men provided 39 percent of all work hours
  at the Mount Zion jobs compared to 29 percent at other sites.
* Women, in particular, benefited from the program by gaining access to more
  jobs in more of the specific building trades.  Women provided 1.6 percent of
  all work hours in 11 different trades (including cement masonry, painting,
  electrical, sheet metal, drywall, and elevator mechanical, and iron work)
  compared to .01 percent of the work hours in a single trade at other sites.

The expanded UCSF Community Construction Workforce Program will be used for all
major campus construction projects in the future, including those at Parnassus
Heights, Mission Bay and other campus sites.  UCSF’s long range planning calls
for the construction of 2.65 million-square-feet of new space at Mission Bay
over the next 20 years and extensive replacement and renovation of space at
Parnassus Heights.