Concerned about the City of Opalocka’s unemployment rate, which has doubled the National and the Miami-Dade County Average, City of Opa-locka Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley sponsored a resolution that passed a first reading by the Mayor and Commission, 5-0, on Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to establish employment opportunities for residents by partnering with the South Florida Workforce Investment Board (SFWIB), to serve as the link in providing access to training, skills development and work experience to the City’s unemployed, while supplying a proficient workforce to local businesses under what is titled the First Source Hiring Referral Program.
The City’s partnership with SFWIB is an expansion to the initial December 2012 program in Resolution 12-8497, sponsored by Vice Mayor Kelley, directing the City Manager to implement a sidewalk installation and repair program, which hires qualified residents of the City to perform the work. Within two-weeks of introducing the extended resolution, the City had filled four of the five positions available through the program, with residents who would perform structural improvements by removing old existing damaged sidewalks that, over a period of time and through deterioration, have become a hazard. Workers receive “On the Job Training” (OJT) to make repairs by framing, pouring and leveling new walkways.
This “paid work experience” project is managed by the City’s Public Works Department and the jobs are subsidized from Miami-Dade County’s People Transportation Funds. Therefore, the areas receiving new sidewalks must meet specific requirements established by the county. The part-time positions are four months (a maximum of six months, based on skillset), while funds are available. However, after the training is completed, those becoming certified through the program will be placed in a very detailed-specific tracking database system to receive referrals and recommendation through the First Source Hiring Program, as permanent jobs become available in and out of the City of Opa-locka. In their office at the Municipal Complex building, 780 Fisherman Street, Suite 110, the South Florida Workforce Investment Board will make available computer assistance for program participants.
Residents registered with the program (including graduates), who have met all qualifications, will be places in the database of unemployed persons of which SFWIB will make accessible to the City of Opalocka as a first source for their employment needs, to fill jobs which are created to satisfy City contract requirements. “This program will bring the City a return on their investment and offer its citizens employment at home,” commented Vice Mayor Kelley. He concluded, “It’s a win-win-win opportunity for the City, South Florida Workforce and more importantly, for the residents of the great City of Opa-locka!”
For more information on the First Source Hiring Program contact Cora Eutsay