Ballot question will ask: Should technical ed students receive a hiring preference for Philly jobs?

The charter change would add graduates of career technical programs to the groups receiving a preference in civil service exams.

A student at A. Philip Randolph Career and Technical High School. (City of Philadelphia)

A student at A. Philip Randolph Career and Technical High School. (City of Philadelphia)

If approved by voters in November, a charter change ballot question would give a hiring preference for city jobs to graduates of a career technical education (CTE) program in the School District of Philadelphia.

The charter change moved through City Council during its final session of spring on Thursday.

Councilmember David Oh expressed disappointment with the proposed change. He said it would put veterans, who are currently offered a hiring preference, at a disadvantage.

“The charter change is not giving five points related to what they studied at the city level,” Oh said. “It is just five points for any job on a citywide basis.”

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Joe Graves, who served in the Vietnam War, was among residents voicing displeasure with the change during public testimony.

“What we should be focusing on Kensington Avenue and not changing charter bills to harm our veterans,” Graves said.

Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson said an amendment to the bill is designed so the preference can’t be used against veterans.

“And I want to be clear, the veterans asked me to amend this bill to ensure that if a veteran and a CTE student are up for the same job, that the CTE student cannot use the preference,” Gilmore Richardson said.

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She said her father was a veteran and that she had collaborated with veterans to make the charter change as fair as possible.

The bill could be before the voters for a final decision in the November election.

Council returns to regular meetings in September.

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