Clarke seeks legal nudge to make city-supported businesses give Philly job applicants priority

 City Council President Darrell Clarke wants to make sure projects getting tax breaks and other subsidies are making enough of an effort to hire city residents. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

City Council President Darrell Clarke wants to make sure projects getting tax breaks and other subsidies are making enough of an effort to hire city residents. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia Council President Darrell Clarke wants to make sure projects getting tax breaks and other subsidies are making enough of an effort to hire city residents.

Since 2012, businesses getting more than $250,000 in taxpayer support are expected to prioritize Philadelphia applicants when hiring for entry-level jobs by making a “first source agreement” with the city’s Commerce Department, although they’re not required to actually meet a certain quota. The law sets the target for local hiring at 50 percent. 

Clarke wants to change that law by making city council’s Economic Opportunity Review Committee responsible for enforcing it, a job now belonging to the city’s Commerce Department.

He’d also like to clarify the law to include penalties for businesses that don’t make a good faith effort to hire local residents, and to include them in the city’s definition of “diverse workforce” along with minority groups.

“At this point, we have not established the penalties associated with noncompliance,” he said. “We just simply want people to give the citizens of the city of Philadelphia a first opportunity for any job that’s created as result of receiving taxpayer-supported incentives.”

A spokeswoman for the Kenney administration said the mayor’s office is still looking over Clarke’s proposed ordinance.

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