Lepore-Hagan: Local Hiring Ban Axes Local Control, Sends Ohio Jobs Out Of State
Legislation will give out-of-state contractors edge on public works projects

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today expressed disappointment in the passage of House Bill 180, legislation that prohibits cities and other municipalities from setting minimum standards for hiring local residents for public works projects. The minimum residency standards, currently in place in cities and municipalities around the state, let qualified workers earn the opportunity to find rewarding employment in their own communities.  

“HB 180 is a misguided measure that bans our communities from making decisions that put local Ohioans to work on public projects,” said Rep. Lepore-Hagan. “Local hiring quotas represent a commitment by cities to combat unemployment and poverty by investing in their residents. Not only do these projects benefit the individual worker and their families, but also community as a whole as the workers reinvest their wages in the local economy. Ohioans deserve a fair shot at good-paying local jobs, not policies that benefit out-of-state contractors at the expense of Ohio families." 

Some Ohio communities use local hiring quotas on publicly financed projects as a way to strengthen local workforce participation and, in turn, strengthen local economies. For example, the City of Akron – in the early stages of a $1.4 billion sewer system upgrade project – currently has a local hiring target of 30 percent, with that goal increasing to 50 percent by 2018. 

Urban areas typically have higher unemployment rates than the national average, making the decision to hire local even more impactful for improving the job market in Ohio’s urban areas. Local hiring on public works projects offers a pathway to toward full workforce inclusion for all members of a community, including minority and at-risk populations.

The cities of Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Lima, Dayton, and Columbus, among others, all testified in opposition to the bill. 

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