Goal 5: Strengthen and Support Employment Opportunities


Approximately 48% of the total land in NELA is zoned for commercial and industrial uses, providing hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenue. As such, it provides the City a unique opportunity to explore targeted business and employment incentives, industry-specific recruitment, and coordinated regulatory policies to help the working riverfront adapt and prosper. Industry, commerce, and recreational activities near the River are valuable economic assets, crucial to the economic health and prosperity of the Northeast Los Angeles community and the City of Los Angeles as a whole.

California's economy may be coming back, but more than four years after the end of the Great Recession, the comeback is still slow and uneven. In the past year, over a quarter- million jobs have been created in California, more than any other state. While this is certainly a cause for optimism, California's economic recovery is being experienced differently - and unevenly - across the state. For many Californians, the recession is still a grim reality--and the gap between rich and poor across the state is expanding more than ever.

For Angelenos, the Los Angeles River has the potential to be an engine of economic growth, catalyzing business and employment opportunities in the surrounding riverfront communities.

This goal aims to spur new industries, re-imagine existing infrastructure and land uses, create a skilled workforce, and improve the overall quality of life that is critical to attracting companies and increase the employment wage-rate. The ensuing recommendations are grounded in NELA specific information.


Existing Commercial and Industrial Land Use

Commercial and industrial zoned lands in NELA are occupied by active and productive businesses that provide employment and services. These spaces are an essential component of the City's diversified economic base. Broadly, land zoned for commercial and services uses are predominantly for public services and resident serving businesses. In contract, industrially zoned land is used for manufacturing, assembly, processing, packaging or storage of products occurs.

In 2011, the largest private sector industry in terms of employment was food services and drinking places, providing 1,127 jobs. The second largest industry was social assistance, providing 1,056 jobs, which includes child and youth services, family social services agencies, and day care centers and preschools. The third largest industry was specialty trade contractors, which includes companies providing services for building construction. In addition to the private sector, both state government and local government agencies each provide more than 1,300 employment opportunities in NELA, making them significant employers.

Local Industry Employment Forecast

Combining the current industrial composition of NELA and Greater NELA with the projected industry growth over the next ten years, Fig. 51B [on page 190] project a forecast for industry employment in the area. The largest numbers of new jobs will be added in service-providing industries, such as educational and health services, leisure and hospitality, and professional and business services. This is largely a consequence continued growth in large industries. Construction-related jobs will follow suit, especially when river-related projects and other key infrastructure projects become a reality. In contrast, three industry sectors are projected to shrink: 1) natural resources and mining, 2) nondurable goods manufacturing, and 3) wholesale trade. These trends reflect long term sector decline and spatial restraints.


Targeting Industries for NELA

Industries that should be targeted for growth include those that
have a distinct advantage in being located within NELA. Fig.
51A shows that the beverage and manufacturing industries had
the highest location advantage in 2011, including companies
such as the San Antonio Winery, a popular tourist destination nd the Eagle Rock Brewery. Textile product mills, such as
G.A. Gertmenian & Sons, was the second most popular
followed by chemical products manufacturing

Specialty trade contracts is the industry with the largest number of projected new jobs, such as work related to plumbing, painting, concrete pouring, electrical work, etc. This industry supports new construction, as well as remodeling, reconstruction and upgrades of existing buildings.

Other industries that will add new jobs in NELA include food services and drinking places, social assistance, administrative and support services and ambulatory health care services. These are all large population-serving industries that will add jobs in keeping with population growth.

In addition to private sector industries, local and state government agencies are projected to add approximately 300 jobs, many of which will be in educational services and in ground transportation services.

A. Expanding the capacity of industrial areas

Industrial zoned areas offer employment opportunities for residents of all skill and education levels, create and support jobs in multiple other business sectors, and generate taxes that sustain the quality of life. For these reasons, the City of Los Angeles has had a long-standing adopted policy to preserve industrial lands, which should continue within the NELA area

Tomorrow's industrially-zoned land, reserved for business growth and employment, is likely to look much different than today's. It is important to strengthen the City's ability to expand a diverse and flexible economic and industrial base. For example, industrial lands play an important role as incubator space for small start-up and creative businesses. Preserving industrial land in the NELA area is critical to encourage innovation in these emerging industries, to attract growing companies from other areas, and to grow job- producing companies already in Los Angeles.

B. Attract businesses that will employ local population

Healthy local businesses often generate job opportunities for local residents, keeping money circulating within the neighborhood rather than draining outward.

Targeted business attraction programs, especially for anchor institutions (such as major organizations), can help create jobs and services that are important to the NELA riverfront communities. Local governments can help retain businesses by reducing development or operations costs with financial incentives, waivers or fees or taxes, or in-kind services.

There is also a great opportunity to provide more green and sustainable jobs in the NELA area that are sensitive to the environment and unique land use conditions. River revitalization efforts can increase the workforce and wage rates by encouraging higher technology industries.
C. Expand educational opportunities & job training programs

The City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) partners with local agencies and service providers to enable a progressive, competitive location for both businesses and skilled workers. As a leader of the City's national recognized Workforce Development System (WDS), EWDD is helping to redesign its network of 18 WorkSource Centers, which includes the Lincoln Heights office within NELA.

As part of the WDS resign, there will opportunities to increase access for NELA stakeholders, particularly in training opportunities in high-demand employment sectors. In addition, the new service delivery model will wrap education, employment, and social service support into its program, enabling NELA stakeholders to address workforce needs holistically

D. Promote local hiring

In the public sector, many local hiring programs require developers and contractors benefitting from public funds to target a percentage of the jobs created through construction or development of new businesses toward local residents. Local hiring ensures that residents benefit from the economic development and investment occurring in their community and supports sustainability goals by bringing residents closer to jobs, reducing commute time and encouraging use of transit, bicycling, and walking.

First-Source Programs (FSPs) are one of the most successful ways of realizing local hiring goals and requirements. FSPs create an institutional structure that is intentional about providing employment opportunities to targeted populations. Participating businesses are required to give first notice of job openings to the FSP. This usually means they are required to post all job openings to a central clearinghouse (either run by the city or a nonprofit) for a designated period of time before opening up the position to the general public. The clearinghouse screens and keeps extensive records of local residents, and refers those with appropriate experience. First-source hiring best practices are implemented through case-by-case negotiations in the development agreement process and an approach that could be integrated into future projects in NELA.

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