My goal is to ensure balanced and broad economic growth in all parts of Atlanta, including our black and brown communities. I won't shy away from challenging business leaders to prioritize the inclusion of Atlantans in their workforce, just as I did with Microsoft. I'll champion Atlanta as a destination for growing businesses, while ensuring that small businesses, which employ many Atlantans, receive adequate support and recognition.
To achieve this goal, I plan to create an Atlanta Department of Labor, which will serve as a centralized city department for all labor needs. This department will include a dedicated liaison to organized labor, who will ensure their inclusion in major development discussions like FIFA, Super Bowl, and federal grants. I'll also appoint a watchdog/investigator for labor law violations and advocate for changes in state law while ensuring compliance with federal labor laws. This way, Atlanta can continue to prosper, and all its citizens can benefit from its economic growth.
As Mayor of Atlanta, I am proud to announce that we are doubling down on our commitment to developing Atlanta’s workforce. We will be establishing a new department dedicated to expanding resources for employment, customized training, and fair labor practices. This announcement was made during my visit to the Georgia Building Trades Academy’s YouthBuild program in Atlanta.
I firmly believe that the strength of Atlanta is the strength of our people. As the city continues to grow, we want to ensure that all of our citizens, particularly our young people, share in our prosperity. That's why I am delivering on our commitment to establish the Atlanta Department of Labor and Employment Services. By doing so, we are sending a clear message that the City stands with and for workers, and we will continue to be the city of choice to start and grow businesses.
To establish the department, my administration will propose legislation in January, which will become active during the next fiscal year budget, taking effect in July 2023. The Department will oversee the City’s labor and innovation work, WorkSource Atlanta, youth employment services, including the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program, and the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute. It will also help coordinate work with the labor unions representing City employees.
This move builds on my earlier investments in local workforce development. In September, I, in conjunction with Atlanta Technical College and Acuity Brands, announced significant investments in local workforce development and training. These investments included a $1.8 million bestowment to Atlanta Technical College’s Center for Workforce Innovation, as well as a $50,000 contribution – alongside a $150,000 commitment from Acuity Brands – for the creation of a workforce development pilot program.
We also launched the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) with the goal of providing young people between the ages of 14 and 24 with opportunities to explore career interests and build work-related skills. In its first year, SYEP exceeded its goal. The program received more than 3,500 applicants, 99% of whom met all eligibility requirements and the hiring business’ criteria. We were able to place over 3,000 young people in paid employment and internship opportunities throughout Atlanta.