SAN FRANCISCO—The Mayor of San Francisco and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OWED) revealed on September 1 the expansion of CityBuild, which is a nationally recognized construction training program that provides career pathways to underserved residents of SF into the building and construction trades, to over 600 local residents in the next 2 years.

The expansion will double the number of participants and provide additional opportunities for workers to learn in-demand skills, receive wraparound services and job placement assistance in San Francisco’s growing construction industry.

“As we look to our economic recovery and focus on getting people back to work, it is critical that we invest in providing our local workforce with the skills necessary to succeed. That is why we are doubling the number of CityBuild participants and creating more well-paying jobs for local San Franciscans,” said Mayor Breed. “Training our city’s workforce and placing them in meaningful careers will support those that were most impacted by the pandemic and help drive equitable employment opportunities for our city’s residents.”

“Local Hire has led to more job opportunities for historically underserved communities. The expansion of CityBuild capitalizes on those opportunities to ensure that local residents have access to livable wages and long-lasting careers in a growing industry,” said Kate Sofis, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “CityBuild is vital to San Francisco’s equitable economic recovery—serving as an example of how we can meet the moment, strengthen our local workforce, and get San Franciscans back to work”

A press release from the Mayor’s Office indicates that San Francisco’s Local Hire Ordinance requires 30 percent of all project hours on city-funded construction to be performed by residents. CityBuild assists in providing a pipeline of qualified workers to meet the requirements of the Ordinance and the demands of the industry. In years since the Local Hire Ordinance’s adoption, residents performed 33 percent of a total of 8.2 million work hours on covered projects, with 48 percent of apprentice hours worked by local apprentices. President Biden’s Infrastructure deal builds on the success of local hiring policies to create economic opportunity for disadvantaged residents by implementing a resident hiring requirement in federal infrastructure construction projects for the first time, creating a significant demand for San Francisco residents in the construction industry. Congress will resume consideration of the proposal upon returning from recess on September 20.

“CityBuild was the Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s first training program, providing the foundation for future workforce initiatives in healthcare, tech, hospitality, and emerging industries,” said Joshua Arce, Director of Workforce at the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “CityBuild’s many years of success in providing underserved communities access to opportunities to raise a family, buy a home, and have a successful career is intertwined with our partnership with the Building Trades, who offer graduates the chance to become a Union apprentice and turn out as journey-level construction workers, perhaps eventually becoming superintendents or apprenticeship coordinators. This unique collaboration between labor, contractor, educational, and community-based organizations has made CityBuild a national model to advance equity.”

CityBuild started in 2006, under former Mayor Gavin Newsom, in an effort to coordinate citywide construction training and employment programs and is administered by OEWD in partnership with City College of San Francisco and the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council, community non-profit organizations including Mission Hiring Hall, industry employers, and city agencies. CityBuild trainees represent neighborhoods from across the region, including Bayview Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, the Mission, the Excelsior, Ingleside, Bernal Heights, and the Western Addition.

“Today we celebrate 15 years of CityBuild providing opportunities for SF residents right here in the Southeast Sector of San Francisco. I want to acknowledge all of the individuals who have completed the program and gone on to become leaders in the field of construction. The partnerships that have developed through this training program have made it possible to employ hundreds of community members,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, who represents District 10. “I want to thank San Francisco City College, OEWD, and all of the community based organizations that make the connections for our residents. Looking forward to many more years of making opportunities real!”

In the past 15 years, CityBuild’s Training Academy graduated 1,350 participants, including 146 through partnerships with projects such as the Chase Center, Gleneagles, and Alice Griffith. Graduates of the program represent the diversity of San Francisco’s disadvantaged job seekers with 30 percent Black, 19 percent Latino, and 36 percent Asian- Pacific Islander. In an industry that is nationally comprised of less than 1 percent women, CityBuild graduates are comprised of 12 percent women.

“At the core of CityBuild’s success are our partnerships,” said CityBuild Director Ken Nim. “Thanks to the support from labor organizations, construction contractor community, inter-agency and government collaboration, and community-based organizations providing services on the ground, we developed a strong foundation to deliver a program for all San Franciscans to prosper. These four pillars continue to be the strength of helping the City recover and build stronger.”

“The San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council and all our affiliates are proud of our partnership with CityBuild since its inception. Thanks to CityBuild’s services to the community, the program had prepared San Francisco residents with core skills to be successful in the industry,” said Rudy Gonzales, the Secretary-Treasurer of the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council. “Graduates of the program are more equipped for the rigors of construction and become strong apprentices. Our employers and apprenticeship coordinators all believe that the pathway CityBuild has provided for graduates is the model for what a pre-apprenticeship program has to offer.”

CityBuild evolved into a network of training programs, employment services, and policy administration. With its dual-service approach to training and job placement, CityBuild took advantage of the growing pipeline of workers to become a valuable resource for contractors and employers while continuing to monitor local hiring compliance on all major construction projects within the City. For more details visit

“Wraparound services are critical to the successful outcomes of a workforce training participant. These services will help us identify and address the personal and social needs of participants that may impact their transition to gainful employment,” said Michelle Leonard-Bell, Executive Director of Mission Hiring Hall and CityBuild program coordinator. “The human touch of empathy and compassion demonstrates our commitment to focus on each person’s unique circumstances. These coordinated services will lead to greater success as participants begin careers in the construction industry.”

“Swinerton is proud to be a partner of CityBuild since its inception 15 years ago. The quality of graduates and the success of the apprentices coming out of the program has helped our company retain great employees,” said Lori Dunn-Guion, Vice President – Division Manager, Swinerton. “Part of the mission of our company is to ensure that we have a long and lasting impact on the communities in which we live, serve, and belong. We recognize jobs and career opportunities promote sustainable economies. Our partnership with CityBuild has helped us achieve that goal.”

Written By Casey Jacobs