Oakland's old Army Base was once a thriving job center, and Oakland's economic committee Tuesday unanimously approved a comprehensive jobs plan designed to put Oakland residents back to work at any future development there.
The recommendations are contained in a Community Jobs agreement crafted over the past year by a diverse coalition of residents, labor representatives and business interests who were united in their quest to put Oakland residents to work.
During its lifetime, the former Oakland Army Base was a major employer for Oakland and the entire East Bay, and its closure in 1999 cost the region as many as 7,000 good-paying jobs.
The city will soon consider a master plan by development team of California Capital & Investments and ProLogis to create a blue-collar, state-of-the art logistics and goods movement center that will boost efficiency and trade at the Port of Oakland and add thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the regional economy.
The goal is to incorporate the recommendations into a binding project labor agreement for construction jobs before the city signs any developer contracts for the Army Base.
Councilmember Jane Brunner, chairwoman of the Jobs Working Group, said the recommendations are guiding principles to make sure local residents get jobs at the base and just as important, keep those jobs. In the past, Brunner said local African-American residents did not benefit as much as they should
"We can write anything we want and pass anything we want, but implementation in the key," Brunner said.
The working group's recommendations include:
Speaker after speaker said that putting Oakland residents to work with good paying jobs will not only help the local economy but also reduce crime and strengthen families.
"My father came from the South during the war for jobs at the Oakland Army Base," said Sherman Taylor, 65. "He was able to buy a home, buy a car, live the American dream. ... (This proposal) will help our kids. Decent jobs and being able to support our families will revive Oakland."
Manual Garvin, the social entertainment account manager for Youth Uprising, said a job can put youth on the right path.
"A lot of youth are doing what they are doing because they need to work for their families," he said. "I'm living proof a job can change a life. I started in a kitchen, now I'm an account manager two years later."
The recommendations now go to the Oakland City Council for approval on Feb. 7.
Contact Cecily Burt at 510-208-6441. Follow her on Twitter.com/csburt.