Anchor institutions wield an immense amount of economic power – in many U.S. cities, hospitals and universities are the largest employers and control a tremendous amount of resources both financial and in the form of human capital. As such, it is clear that the “corporate” administrative practices (i.e. procurement, investment, hiring, etc) of an anchor institution greatly impact the communities where they are located and the individuals that live in those communities. In particular, the human resource practices of an institution – the decisions that they make in regard to who they hire and how – is one such practice that can, and does, affect local community economic development.
Hiring local residents through targeted recruitment and job training programs is a win-win arrangement for anchor institutions and communities alike. By hiring locally, the institution fulfils its workforce needs with limited additional expenditures while creating substantial economic opportunities for residents.
Partnering real employment opportunities with job skills training and support programs such as mentorships helps ensure the success of local hiring practices and can transform the lives of residents.
Hiring from within the community also cuts back on commuting, creating savings for those hired and promoting sustainable practices within the community.
Developing inclusive hiring practices that target women and minorities further aligns human resource practices with community goals. Setting percentage goals for hiring female and minority staff and faculty (in the case of colleges and universities) helps to achieve diversity and promotes equity at all levels of the institution. Mirroring the diversity of the community in the institution itself demonstrates a commitment to equality and builds trust within the community.
Making it Work
Encouraging local hiring requires full institutional buy-in and administrative support. Clear goals need to be agreed upon by institution leaders and institutional benchmarks need to be set and supported by incentives and rewards.
Here are a few ways that anchor institutions can target hiring practices locally:
- Set clear benchmarks with percentage goals for hiring locally.
- Develop clearly-stated inclusive hiring practices at all levels of the institution, focus on hiring women and minorities.
- Incentivize human resource managers to hire local applicants through reward programs.
- Target local recruitment locally through direct community outreach and engagement.
- Build a partnership with local community-based organizations to develop workforce training and skills development programs.
Henry Ford Hospital
Starting in 2010, Henry Ford Health System in Midtown Detroit has partnered with two other anchor institutions in the neighborhood – Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University – on an initiative known as “Live Local, Buy Local, Hire Local.” As part of this effort, Henry Ford has developed and is piloting a local hiring program that gives residents direct access to real job opportunities in the Health System. Additionally – and perhaps most significant – as part of this program, Henry Ford has put in place incentive that encourage managers to hire locally, linking 7 percent of senior executives' bonuses to achieving defined diversity goals.
Temple University in North Philadelphia created an Office of Community Outreach and Hiring within the human resources department of the institution. The goal of the office is to connect residents from the surrounding neighborhood with job opportunities at the University as well as with other local employers. The Office of Community Outreach and Hiring has partnered with area churches, communitydevelopment corporations and other community groups and leaders to reach-out to local job applicants.
Additionally, the Office provides job readiness trainings that cover topics such as managing the on-line application process, developing a resume, navigating the interview process, and building administrative and clerical skills. One a year, the Office hosts a Neighbors Job Fair that targets students at local high schools, as well as graduating Temple seniors who are from the surrounding neighborhoods.