Chevron Agrees to Hire Locals for Richmond Refinery Jobs

Richmond WIB Executive Director Sal Vaca

Richmond WIB Executive Director Sal Vaca

Qualified Richmond residents will be given priority when it comes time to hire construction and other workers for Chevron’s proposed $1 billion refinery modernization project, according to an agreement announced this week.

Representatives from the City of Richmond, Chevron and the Contra Costa Building and Trades Council signed an agreement today aimed at boosting job opportunities for local residents.

Around 1,000 construction workers are expected to be hired to complete the modernization project, as well as some 500 support workers, according to Sal Vaca, Richmond’s employment and training director. The agreement also states that Chevron will look to Richmond businesses to provide goods and services needed for the project.

“This represents the strongest agreement we have seen on any economic project in our city and serves as a template for the future,” Vaca said.

Although the agreement isn’t legally binding, Vaca said labor leaders and representatives from the city and Chevron will hold monthly meetings to ensure they’re meeting local hiring goals for the project.

The city council is set to vote on the project this summer. If approved, construction could begin as soon as the end of the year, Vaca said. City officials say Richmond’s unemployment rate is about 11.5 percent, a figure that represents some 6,200 residents.

The rate is twice the unemployment level compared to the rest of Contra Costa County and well above the statewide unemployment rate of 8 percent. Vaca said the Chevron agreement is “an exciting opportunity for our community at a time when we continue to suffer with double-digit unemployment.”

More than 100 people attended press conference in Richmond announcing the partnership, including Kish Rajan, Director of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

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