Officials emphasize jobs in discussing city budgets 

From The City’s local hiring law to its new summer employment program for youths, jobs for San Francisco residents has become a popular political mantra. And when the Budget and Finance Committee kicked off its review of city departments’ budget proposals on Wednesday, it was no different.

The Board of Supervisors committee began budget hearings on The City’s seven so-called enterprise departments — that is, departments that generate revenue through their operations. Wednesday’s hearing focused on the budgets proposed by the San Francisco International Airport and the San Francisco Port.

Chairwoman Carmen Chu asked department heads to emphasize what they are doing to create jobs.

Mayor’s Office Budget Director Kate Howard said that those departments’ two-year budget proposals include spending on more than $1 billion on capital projects that will create nearly 9,000 combined jobs. Mayor Ed Lee has made job creation a cornerstone of his administration.

Airport director John Martin said that more than $2 billion in capital investment to occur over the next decade will result in almost 12,000 jobs. He said that 57 percent of all construction dollars spent last year and 43 percent of concession leases benefited local businesses.

Port Director Monique Moyer said that while her department employs just 200 people, some 10,000 people are employed by businesses operating on port property, which includes 57 restaurants, 25 retail establishments, the Giant’s stadium and Pier 39.

“All told, we think that we generate approximately 16,000 jobs citywide with an economic benefit of just over $2 billion,” Moyer said.

These two departments also offer hundreds of job-training positions for San Francisco’s youth. Martin said the airport has 126 interns in workforce development placements and plans to increase that to 135 next year. The program serves at-risk youth as well as those in high-school, college and graduate school. Martin said the program is an “an important source of permanent hiring” for the airport in such fields as engineers and architecture. Nearly two years ago, the airport launched in partnership with city nonprofits a custodial training program for youth.

Moyer said the port began workforce development programming seven years ago with just $150,000, serving 15 people. By this year, that had increased to $725,000 in funding serving 200. The port offers five main programs, including a Port Pile Worker Apprenticeship and welding training at Pier 70.

The committee’s hearings on the proposed budgets wrap up next week. Next Friday, Lee will introduce his proposed citywide budget for all departments, which the committee will review throughout June.

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