By Kitty Epstein
Will Oakland youngsters have jobs in ten years? Policies being decided right now will have an impact on the answer.
While the country debates job development, it’s already happening in Oakland and a new coalition, OaklandWORKS, has been created to make sure Oakland families are able to benefit.
The development of the Oakland Army Base could do some great things for Oakland. With a new warehouse, logistics and research facilities the Port could expand, becoming an even bigger part of world trade.
Army Base development is projected to create 8,000 new jobs, including both construction and permanent employment. Who will hold those jobs? Oakland residents? African-Americans? If we let the past dictate the future, few African-American will be on those construction jobs. Latest city figures show that only 5% African-American journeyman hours are on city-funded construction projects, although African-Americans are almost 30% of the Oakland population. A fair process for all Oakland residents means community involvement in policy development, job training, deployment for work, and monitoring.
The OaklandWORKS coalition is concerned with equity and environmental justice throughout the city. Right now the group is working on Army Base issues.
The founding members of the coalition include the Oakland Black Caucus, Leadership Excellence, Oakland Parents Together, the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, Pueblo, the John George Democratic Club, and Oakland Natives Give Back.
Their first free public event is Thursday, June 23rd from 6-8 pm at McClymonds High School, 2607 Myrtle Street (in West Oakland). Saleem Shakir from OaklandWORKS will present the group’s proposal for a community based job center. There will be knowledgeable panelists that will offer comments and there will be plenty of time for audience questions and comments. If you have immediate questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.