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Jobs to Move America: Lauren LaBorde


Chicago Leaders Celebrate Pro-Worker Changes to Federal Guidelines

White House updates to Uniform Grants Guidance include lifting 40-year ban on local hire. 

CHICAGO, IL – Today, Chicago Ald. Mike Rodriguez (22nd) and leaders from the Local Opportunities Coalition celebrated the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s release of the 2024 updated Uniform Grants Guidance, which includes many provisions poised to uplift local workers and communities. 

“It’s a good day in the city of Chicago,” Rodriguez said. “These updated guidelines will make it clear that when Chicago uses federal funds, we can incorporate promoting equity and increasing opportunities for Black and Brown workers and promote local hiring. This greater flexibility in our ability to use funds is a win for Chicago and a win for Chicago’s working families.” 

“The Uniform Guidance released by the Biden-Harris Administration reflects the tireless advocacy of community groups, labor unions, and small businesses who came together to push for this vital change,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “By restoring control over federal funds to the local level, we can prioritize local hiring, uplift disinvested communities, and promote equity in our public projects. From upgrading our infrastructure to making our city more climate-resilient, there is much work to be done across the city and this new guidance ensures that funds that come to Chicago will now be invested into Chicagoans.”

Following advocacy led by a national coalition of community and civil rights groups, cities and states—including organizations and elected officials in Chicago—the OMB released the updated guidance that included many of coalition’s recommendations: 

  • Returning decisions about local contracting criteria to state and local governments receiving federal funds
  • Allowing for targeted hiring in disadvantaged communities, including workers who have been historically left out of higher-wage infrastructure, service and other jobs created by public contracting
  • Lifting the ban on geographic preference so states and localities can prioritize workers and small businesses in their communities 
  • Promoting job quality and equity by allowing recipients of federal funds to reward bidders for job quality metrics such as wages and benefits, including using scoring mechanisms like Jobs to Move America’s U.S. Employment Plan framework 

“Our constituents kept saying, ‘I’m tired of seeing really cool projects next door and I can’t apply.’ There’s something wrong with that,” said Leone Jose Bicchieri, Executive Director of Working Family Solidarity, a member of the Local Opportunities Coalition. “With local hire and targeted hire and the new federal guidelines from the OMB, we can help make sure that a lot more folks in the West, Southwest and South sides and everywhere can get good jobs,”

In the 2022 fiscal year alone, the city of Chicago and Cook County received more than $6.3 billion in federal grant money that is governed by the Uniform Guidance.

“This is an historic step to maximize the benefits of federal dollars for local workers and their communities,” said Basil Salem, Senior Policy Advisor at Jobs to Move America, the convener of the Local Opportunities Coalition. “The procurement process is a powerful tool to address historic inequities and uplift thousands of struggling people in Chicago.”

Recent legislation including the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), CHIPS & Science Act, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the American Rescue Plan Act, is sending billions in federal funds to states and localities to build and update infrastructure and to produce technology geared at addressing climate issues. With local and state governments now able to attach strong worker and community benefits to their federally funded projects, the new guidance is poised to uplift workers and local communities by providing access to quality jobs that are intended to aid the transition to a green economy and address urgent climate issues.

About Jobs To Move America (

Jobs to Move America is a strategic organizing and policy center that works to transform public spending and corporate behavior using a comprehensive approach that is rooted in racial and economic justice. We seek to advance a fair and prosperous economy with good jobs and healthier communities for all.

About Working Family Solidarity 

Working Family Solidarity is a nonprofit that strives to educate and unify working families in Chicago and Illinois to create a culture of labor rights education and inter-racial solidarity among low-wage and contingent workers, including unemployed and under-employed workers.

About the Local Opportunities Coalition 

The Local Opportunities Coalition is a group of national and regional advocacy groups, labor unions and community organizations that are unified in maximizing the benefits of federal dollars for local communities and workers. The Local Opportunities Coalition has led the charge to transform government spending by advocating for several changes to the OMB Uniform Guidance as a way to ensure cities and states have the tools to create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs and ensure community benefits when they receive federal funding.

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