UCSF Partners with San Francisco to Provide Job Training for Local Residents 

Graduates Will Be Eligible for Construction Jobs at UCSF’s Research and Administration Building at ZSFG 

By Laura Kurtzman

construction worker drives a forklift

Xavier Hagwood, a graduate of CityBuild Academy, works on construction of the new UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences building. Photo by Susan Merrell

As part of its commitment to promoting local economic opportunity, UC San Francisco is partnering with the City and County of San Francisco to train local residents to work on construction of the new Research and Administration Building at the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG). 

UCSF is contributing up to $1.1 million to CityBuild Academy – a construction training program run by the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development – which will provide a five-week course to equip local job seekers with the skills they need to become pre-apprentice level workers on the $271 million construction project, potentially helping with labor, ironwork, carpentry, drywall, glazing and painting.  

The new building will provide a home for researchers whose work has a distinct focus on the health issues affecting disadvantaged communities, both at home and abroad, including basic scientists, clinicians and public health researchers who are focused on HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as traumatic brain injury, women’s health, innovation for digital health equity, and transformative services for people who have experienced violence and trauma. 

In building the new research building, UCSF will voluntarily seek to achieve San Francisco’s goal of ensuring that 30 percent of construction jobs go to local residents, who will be recruited by Mission Hiring Hall, a local community-based organization that leads sector initiatives for CityBuild. 

“With this job training program and our broader goal to hire at least 30 percent of our construction workforce locally, we are strengthening the economic opportunities that UCSF provides to the community, increasing employment opportunities for San Francisco residents, and engaging our local unions in innovative partnerships that have multiplier effects, benefitting both the university and the community,” said UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “We are proud to partner with the City on this job training program and demonstrate our commitment to the people who live in the communities that this great hospital serves.” 

The first cohort of 15 trainees started on April 5 and a second cohort is scheduled to follow them later this year. The training academy is located at UCSF’s Mission Center Building at 15th and Harrison streets.  

Graduates will receive safety and hazardous waste certificates, and they will be eligible for union apprenticeships in the construction building trades. The training program will pay their union fees and purchase the necessary tools, so they can successfully start their career in the industry. 

“After more than a year of economic pain from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is time to get more San Franciscans back to work,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “I am grateful to UCSF for helping to launch careers in construction for San Franciscans, especially those from historically disadvantaged neighborhoods. UCSF and the City share a commitment to economic opportunity and inclusion for all.” 

I am grateful to UCSF for helping to launch careers in construction for San Franciscans, especially those from historically disadvantaged neighborhoods. UCSF and the City share a commitment to economic opportunity and inclusion for all.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed

CityBuild Director Ken Nim added, “We have partnered with UCSF for many years to recruit and train local residents to build projects on UCSF campuses. We are excited about UCSF’s additional investment in training local residents to build their newest research building at ZSFG.” 

Construction on the building began in August and is expected to be finished in two years. The five-story facility is being built at 23rd Street, between Vermont and Utah streets, on what was previously a surface parking lot. It will house state-of-the-art research, teaching and administrative space under a long-term ground lease with the City and County of San Francisco.  

As the general contractor, The Boldt Company will hire some workers directly and oversee subcontractors who will hire workers for certain aspects of the project. 

“It is in our best interest to support and hire from these training programs, since our industry depends on a steady pool of newcomers that are ready to work,” said Geoffrey Nelson, director of project development with Boldt’s San Francisco office. “We are committed to the success of UCSF’s 30 percent local hire goal and to doing business in ways that benefit the neighborhoods that surround this important community construction project.”  

The construction training partnership builds upon UCSF’s nearly 150-year affiliation with the City, through which UCSF physicians and other health care professionals provide the majority of medical services and related health care at ZSFG. Research in the new building will contribute to the excellence of the care provided at ZSFG, which serves the City's most vulnerable populations. It also represents an important part of UCSF's Anchor Institution Initiative, leveraging the university's economic and human resources to help address issues such as income disparities that impact the long-term health of the community. 

“This building already exemplifies UCSF’s partnership with the City and now will provide critical new job opportunities for the local community, as well,” said Francesca Vega, vice chancellor for Community and Government Relations at UCSF. “It is an important step toward helping some of the San Franciscans who have been sidelined by the pandemic get back to work and is part of our ongoing commitment to improving the health and welfare of our City.” 

About UCSF: The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals, as well as affiliations throughout the Bay Area.