Best Practices

 

CITY OF BELL GARDENS
Mayor Maria Chacon

Commerce/Bell Gardens Employment Referral Office

Fifteen years ago the City of Commerce obtained a HUD grant to assist Trammell Crow develop an area following the departure of U.S. Steel. Because the establishment of an employment referral office to assist displaced workers was one of the major requirements of the HUD grant, the City of Commerce established their Employment Referral Office (E.R.O.) Since then, the Employment Referral Office has provided a free service to local industry in an effort to develop a solid work force by employing local residents in local businesses. The E.R.O. has been heavily used by local businesses and averages approximately 1,500 job orders each year. Unfortunately, due to the limited number of E.R.O. employees, only one third of those job orders were being filled.

In 1994, in response to urgent community requests, the Bell Gardens City Council began researching possible employment programs for their city. City staff were directed to research possible programs and recommend solutions to address the high unemployment rate within the city. Bell Gardens staff met with the Commerce staff and the following issues were agreed upon:

  • Bell Gardens wished to create an employment program in their city.
  • Commerce wished to expand their program in order to increase the number of job orders filled each year.
  • Rather than duplicate efforts and be in competition with one another, the neighboring cities agreed that it is in the best interest of both cities to enter into a joint venture which is mutually beneficial to both sides.
Both cities entered into an agreement to open up a satellite office of the Employment Referral Office in Bell Gardens City Hall. Two full-time and one part-time staff members were added to accommodate the satellite office. The Commerce office and Bell Gardens office are connected via computer modem. Bell Gardens pays for all expenses necessary to operate their satellite office (i.e. salaries, computers, modem, etc.) which amounts to approximately $130,000 per year.

Since the implementation of this joint effort, the average monthly placements of the Employment Referral Office have increased more than 50 percent. This increase in placements has solidified the E.R.O.'s credibility within the business community and has proven to be an inspiration to other communities who now are seeking joint ventures with neighboring cities in their pursuit of programs, grant opportunities, etc.

Contact: Office of the Mayor, (310) 806-7701

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