Published date: 08/24/2018

Building better communities starts with building the lives of those who create them. And what better way to start building lives than by hiring people who need the opportunities the most?

You’ve heard the old Chinese proverb, “Give someone a fish and feed them for a day; teach them to fish and feed them for a lifetime.” This is not a novel concept. But perhaps it’s one that’s finally at the brink of reaching its full potential. Well, in the construction industry, that is.

From the Ground Up

Amid our rapidly evolving digital climate, we are continually introduced to new and innovative technologies. In the construction industry, labor compliance software that streamlines the process of certified payroll and workforce management has led to its own unique data revolution – one that can change the hiring process of construction companies to target the most disenfranchised individuals in our society. Providing them with a hand up, rather than a hand out.

Why Workforce Reporting?

Many government agencies have already begun using their workforce data – captured through an electronic certified payroll management solution – to help set, monitor, and track their hiring goals. Doing so empowers counties, cities, trade unions, and other alike entities to ensure companies make better hiring decisions that will more positively impact their community. For instance, they can require contractors bidding on public works projects to meet specified hiring goals for:

    • Local workers
    • Workers from impoverished zip codes
    • Underrepresented minorities
    • Veterans
    • Women
    • Apprentices

Does it Really Work?

Yes. The City of Seattle is a perfect success story. They discovered that an overwhelming majority of the workers that were being hired on their public works projects weren’t actual residents of the city. After implementing their Priority Hire Program and using workforce reporting, they were able to triple the amount of work being performed by workers living in Seattle. They were also able to greatly increase the number of women and other underrepresented demographics hired, both for journeymen and apprentices. Check out this video to learn more about their experience.

Seattle is only one of many examples. Other cities have instituted similar goals. Often, these goals are negotiated into project labor agreements (PLAs). Los Angeles Metro has implemented hiring goals in PLAs for some projects to help increase the hiring of minorities and workers from economically disadvantaged zip codes. The City of Cleveland instituted goals for hiring local and low-income workers for the construction of the University of Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children Hospital. And the City of Minneapolis’s US Bank Stadium saw an increase in minority and women hires. All these agencies use a compliance system that is capable of reporting measurable results.

What Are the Benefits?

While this concept isn’t exactly new, it was – up until recently – a major struggle for agencies to measure the success of these goals that they were trying to implement. And this lack of reporting can make it difficult to continue these programs without definite results. But let’s make one thing clear: this does not have to be the case – so long as an organization adopts a reliable labor compliance system that allows for this kind of workforce tracking.

And it isn’t just agencies that can see the benefit from using a system like this. Prime/General Contractors can really reap the rewards from instituting their own initiatives and measuring their results. Let’s set aside the obvious advantage in attaining great PR and having success stories to share; instead, let’s focus on the increased chances of winning that next bid when the awarding body sees that the contractor is already implementing and achieving the very goals that they are striving to regulate.

Tune in for Part 2 of this series where we delve deeper into the benefits of incorporating workforce tracking and how to select the best system for measuring and reporting on your hiring goals. For more information about workforce reporting tools, check out You can also learn more about labor compliance systems that support this kind of reporting by visiting

UPDATE: Part two of the series is available here.

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