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The 2016 Social Responsibility Story

The Port of Oakland’s primary purpose is to support local residents and the local economy. In order to succeed in that mission, the Port created a Social Responsibility Division to level the playing field for local business and workers.

The Port works to ensure that small businesses have the same contracting opportunities as large companies. In turn, these Port contractors provide more jobs for those who live in the local area. In 2016, local workers made $6.5 million in earnings while working on Port of Oakland-related construction projects. More than 60 percent of those workers live within Alameda and Contra Costa counties. This result exceeded the Port’s annual local hiring goal of 50 percent. A few examples of major construction projects that involved the local community:SRD story graphic

  • Local contractors provided North Field Runway Safety Area Improvements at Oakland International Airport.
  • Local contractors designed and constructed the Oakland Outer Harbor Terminal support yard Phase 1.
  • Local workers renovated Building M102 Air Traffic Control Tower at Oakland International Airport.

The Port of Oakland adopted a Maritime Aviation Project Labor Agreement (MAPLA) in 2000. The Port MAPLA was the first of its kind and is still considered a national model among PLAs. The agreement covers maritime and aviation-related construction projects funded through the Port’s Capital Improvement Program. It was specifically designed to provide employment for local residents, ensure project labor stability, and promote the utilization of small business.

MAPLA was updated in February 2016 to further promote local hire and promote even more access for local workers interested in the construction industry.

In addition to local contracting opportunities, the Port also provides internship opportunities for local students. In 2016, the Port hired 22 college interns. The Port’s Summer College Internship Program is a 9-week paid internship designed to provide students with exposure to professional careers and workplace experience. It creates an environment where students can develop good work habits and communications skills that will help shape their future career interests.

The varied skills and expertise of Port staff offer interns insight into a wide variety of fields including: aviation, communications, community relations, contract compliance, engineering, environmental programs, executive office, governmental affairs, human resources, maritime, legal and airport security.

The Port also provides scholarship funds for local high school students through its Employees’ Scholarship Program. Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the program and this year, 31 high school students received $76,500 in scholarships. Over the past 20 years, Port employees have awarded 600 Oakland high school students $1.1 million in scholarship funds.

Community outreach is a key ingredient to the Port’s overall success. That’s why we engage the local community on multiple levels. In 2016, Port staff made direct contact with more than 10,000 neighbors, customers and business partners to make sure we’re addressing their needs. The Port holds office hours in East and West Oakland to provide residents with job information and referrals.

LiveChat is an online resource that allows the public to chat directly and in “real time” with Port staff. In 2016, Port staff responded to more than 5,100 LiveChats. Most inquiries revolved around job, internship, and contracting opportunities. And of course, our harbor tours.

Our free, 90-minute guided harbor cruise is the Port’s most popular outreach initiative. More than 1,100 visitors took part in our summer harbor tours this past year. The boat tours provide a rare glimpse inside a global trade gateway while allowing the visitor to see iconic sights such as the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and the San Francisco skyline.

Throughout the year, the Port has provided grant opportunities to local, non-profit agencies through its “Community Investments Program.” During the past year, the Port provided grants to 72 local organizations. To qualify for a Port grant, applicants must focus on three key areas: education and workforce development, economic vitality, and environmental sustainability.

If 2016 is any indication of the growing opportunities for the local community, 2017 will be an even more exciting year. The Port’s “Operations Jobs Policy” for the construction of a global Seaport Logistics Center will provide local residents with more job opportunities, specialized training, and competitive wages.

The Port’s “Cool Port” refrigerated logistics facility will begin construction in February, and this will provide even more local contracting and work opportunities. By powering local jobs, the Port of Oakland also empowers the local community.