Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi is a senior community organizer at the LA Alliance for a New Economy. He joined LAANE's Green Buildings, Good Jobs Project in 2010.
This post originally appeared at the LIFT Fund.
July 2016 is an important month in the history of the city of Los Angeles. That history is one of a pro-business city, where a trajectory of unbridled capitalism, as well as contemporary expectations of how the economy should work, did not point to success in implementing what became one of the most impactful minimum wage and wage-enforcement ordinances across the country. July 2016 is a month when, against great obstacles, justice trumped business.
“Is there an age limit on those energy efficiency jobs you were talking about, sir?” asked an elderly woman with a heavy, Eastern European-sounding accent.
Assuming that she was inquiring for her grandchild, I told her that those interested in signing up for IBEW Local 18’s Utility Pre-Craft Trainee position must be at least 18 years old, have a valid California driver’s license and be proficient in math and English.
Just as I was about to continue with my tutorial about the academic and physical fitness requirements, the woman interrupted me with another question.
“Do you have any jobs that I can do?”