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BYD, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electric vehicles, commits to hiring 40 percent of its workers from populations facing significant barriers to employment, such as veterans, women, and African Americans.

Los Angeles – Jobs to Move America (JMA), a coalition of community-based groups and electric bus manufacturer BYD Motors, announced the signing of a landmark community benefits agreement (CBA) that will create pathways into the manufacturing industry for underrepresented and underserved populations in Los Angeles County.

CBA’s are commonly associated with real estate projects, but through JMA’s work, are becoming a gold standard for communities seeking returns on their investment in new infrastructure projects.

The CBA between JMA and BYD is a legally enforceable agreement that will support the creation of a robust U.S. jobs program through deep investments in pre-apprenticeship and training programs. BYD has committed to a goal of recruiting and hiring 40 percent of its workers from populations facing significant barriers to employment, such as veterans and returning citizens. In addition, populations that have historically been excluded from the manufacturing industry, such as women and African Americans will be also be recruited and placed. The agreement also includes commitments from BYD to work with the JMA coalition to provide support systems for these workers to strengthen retention efforts, such as providing transportation for workers who may not have access to a car.

“Jobs to Move America commends BYD on its commitment to high-quality U.S. manufacturing jobs with support and access to women, communities of color and people with barriers to employment. For more than three years, we have worked with SMART and other coalition partners to develop a comprehensive agreement with BYD that ensures we maximize returns on our public transportation investments in the form of good living wage jobs for Angelenos and access for all. The electric bus industry is new to the U.S., so it is important that communities, unions, public officials and businesses work together to grow the industry responsibly and effectively. This agreement is one of many first steps to showing that we can embrace new technology and create good jobs for people in our region” said Madeline Janis, Executive Director of Jobs to Move America.

“At BYD, our core values are about cleaning the air and creating great jobs in California,” added  Macy Neshati, Senior Vice President of BYD Heavy Industries. “This commitment is the result of a collaborative process that brought community and business leaders together, and we’re proud to sign this important commitment to the BYD community. BYD is proud to be investing in good jobs, apprenticeship and training programs for the community, and continued growth. We look forward to working closely with the community to make it happen.”

This agreement is critical to addressing long-standing inequities in the manufacturing industry, given that women and African Americans are underrepresented in the industry, and that returning citizens frequently face harmful stigmas when trying to find employment.

Most of the jobs will be created in the City of Lancaster, where one of BYD’s facilities is located.

“Lancaster has one of the largest re-entry populations in Los Angeles County. Ensuring returning citizens have a stable job with benefits is the best way to keep them from returning to the system. The City of Lancaster is looking forward to improving our community’s economy with quality manufacturing jobs. This important agreement between Jobs to Move America, SMART and BYD is proof that communities and businesses can work together to create better outcomes for our society,” said Pastor Darrell Dorris, Deputy Mayor of Lancaster.

The agreement comes weeks after a successful “card-check” vote at the BYD factory in Lancaster, California, at which the employees voted to recognize SMART Local 105 as their official bargaining unit.

“BYD is the only electric bus manufacturer with a workforce represented by a union, meaning workers will have a seat at the negotiating table around their wages, benefits, and working conditions. Now, as the only electric bus manufacturer with a bona fide Community Benefits Agreement, community will also have a seat at the table to make sure the county’s most struggling populations have a pathway into the middle class,” said Luther Medina, President/Business Manager of SMART Local 105.

Some of the highlights of the agreement are:

  • BYD, the JMA coalition, SMART International, and SMART Local 105 will jointly create training and apprenticeship programs for frontline workers in the electric bus manufacturing and assembly industry. Technical training will consist of classroom and hands-on training in basic skills, precision metal work, electrical wiring and assembly of complex mechanical and electrical systems, among other skills.
  • BYD, the JMA coalition and SMART Local 105 will collaborate to develop a customized, pre-apprenticeship program that will help ensure the success of all workers, particularly disadvantaged workers, gearing them towards preparation of employment at BYD. The training will include life skills, language and mathematical literacy, and soft skills.
  • BYD will collaborate with the JMA coalition and SMART Local 105 to recruit and place workers that have historically not had access to the manufacturing industry, including women, African Americans, returning citizens, and veterans. BYD has committed to a goal of at least 40 percent of the eventual workforce being composed of workers in one or more of these groups.
  • BYD will collaborate with the JMA coalition and SMART Local 105 to identify and overcome barriers for workers to site access, such as providing shuttles, ride-sharing programs, or other services to overcome gaps in public transportation.

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