Prince George’s County Council passed a bill to add entry-level construction positions for residents in an effort to fight high county-wide unemployment rates. 


The bill, passed on February 14, is just the first step of many in strengthening the wealth and wages of the county, according to District 8 Councilmember Edward Burroughs III, who sponsored the bill. 


“It's so important that we leverage our own tax dollars in our county projects, uplifts Prince George’s County residents first and foremost,” said Burroughs. “There's so many tax dollars being spent on construction every year, and it's important that we prioritize our residents.” 


According to Burroughs, the bill will require contractors to recruit, hire, and train Prince Georges County residents in construction, ensuring that they have retirement, healthcare, and leave. 


Prince George’s County has the highest level of unemployment in the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, sitting at 7.5% as of 2021. However, along with lowering these rates, the bill is also aimed at training residents.


Steve Lanning is the business manager of Laborers' International Union of North America Local 11, an organization that is responsible for all major construction in the DMV. Lanning is a strong advocate of the bill. He said that the bill creates an apprenticeship program that will not replace jobs, but aims to train workers under a paid apprenticeship.


“We believe that they'll embrace the opportunities this presents the value it presents in terms of working with building trade unions to get a qualified skilled workforce,” said Lanning. 


Although there have been some concerns about the amount of control that will be given to the labor union, Lanning said that he hopes that there will be productive compromises made. 


“The reality is, we recognize that this is a pilot POA,” said Lanning. “Both sides are going to have to give and we're willing to work with them to accommodate what they're looking for.”


Long-term, both Lanning and Burroughs said that they are hoping to extend the reach of the project. Lanning mentioned extending the bill into the private sector of construction, and Burroughs mentioned extending the project to encompass more jobs in the county.


“What I'm interested in doing is looking at the entire construction portfolio of the county, and across the board putting in requirements to hire Prince George's County residents to insure they have health care and retirement,” said Burroughs. “I also want to power ties ensuring that our small minority businesses receive a significant portion of the work that occurs as well.”


According to a press release from the Prince George’s County Council, the bill will be put into action 45 days after it becomes a law.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.