The Kansas City Council approved a resolution Thursday that seeks to create more job opportunities for Kansas City residents on the city’s taxpayer-subsidized economic development projects.
“We want to put more Kansas Citians to work,” said Councilman Scott Taylor, praising the community benefit agreement initiative, co-sponsored by council members Alissia Canady and Scott Wagner.
Canady said the plan has taken more than a year, but it should provide more construction and workforce opportunities to Kansas City residents from the billions of dollars in expected development over the next decade.
Such agreements are already used in cities like Denver and Seattle to benefit the local workforce.
The council noticed that fewer than one in seven of the construction jobs this summer on the massive new Cerner Corp. development in south Kansas City was filled by a Kansas City resident. That’s also been the case on many other taxpayer-subsidized projects in the city, where workers from outside the city often outnumber locals.
The resolution doesn’t carry the weight of a city law. But it requests that community benefit agreements, providing jobs or other local benefits, be incorporated into future economic development agreements.
The resolution directs the city manager to develop a process for these community benefit agreements to be negotiated between developers and the Construction Workforce Board.
It also calls for creation of a database to help match skilled construction workers with job opportunities, and seeks a disparity study to prove the need for greater job access for Kansas City residents, particularly minorities.