Mayor London Breed Announces Expansion of Jobs Program to Stimulate Local Economy and Support Workers and Businesses
JobsNOW! program grows by over $7 million, will support 3,600 subsidized employment placements at hundreds of local employers
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the launch of a newly expanded jobs program to help San Franciscans find employment, support local businesses, and advance the City’s economic recovery. San Francisco’s JobsNOW! program, operated by the Human Services Agency (HSA), provides employment and training services to low-income residents and reimburses employers when they hire program participants for permanent positions. The program expansion will make it easier for participants to sign up and increases support for small businesses to reopen.
In recognition of the critical need to stimulate job creation for vulnerable workers and support local businesses to maximize hiring as they reopen, the Economic Recovery Task Force recommended expanding the JobsNOW! Subsidized Wages Program. At a time when over 200,000 San Franciscans have filed for unemployment and the City’s unemployment rate is estimated at 8.4%, a robust hiring program is essential to help businesses invest in the employees they need and create job opportunities for those who badly want to get back to work. The City has directed nearly $28 million annually in the FY 2020-21 and 2021-22 budget for the program, which is a $7.4 million increase from last year and will support 3,600 subsidized employment placements at hundreds of local employers.
“We need to get people back to work, and as businesses throughout the City continue the hard work of reopening and getting back on their feet, this is a great way to match people looking for jobs with businesses that are hiring,” said Mayor Breed. “With this program we’re focused on helping low-income residents find a job and get the work experience they need to succeed, and supporting businesses who are looking for employees. As we work to recover together, we need to make sure we’re reopening and recovering equitably. We need to bring everyone along – especially our most vulnerable residents.”
“JobsNOW! has been a trusted partner for businesses and job seekers to turn to since the last Great Recession. With San Franciscans in underserved communities continuing to bear greater job losses and slower economic recovery, this program is meeting the challenges of this moment by offering easier ways to get enrolled and back to work,” said Trent Rhorer, Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “Whether looking for new employment or reopening a business, we’re helping people come back stronger from this pandemic with additional support to get hired and pay employees. JobsNOW! is a smart way to find work and get matched with the right talent.”
“Last week we hit a major milestone getting to the State’s yellow tier. But reopening alone won’t translate to recovery,” said Assessor Carmen Chu, Co-Chair of the Economic Recovery Task Force. “Many businesses still can’t afford to hire back workers and that’s where JobsNOW! comes in. By investing an additional $7.4 million, we seed employment in our economy enabling businesses and workers to stabilize and restart with a little less out of pocket.”
The expanded JobsNOW! program is designed to support San Francisco residents who make less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which for a single person is $25,520, and for a family of four is $52,400. This group includes individuals who are enrolled in public benefits such as CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, or cash assistance programs. The program offers several tiers of wage reimbursement to meet the specific needs of businesses who are currently operating or working towards reopening, and incentivizes placements in jobs that pay more sustainable wages.
JobsNOW! reimburses employers $625 to $1,500 a month for six months to help cover the wages of employees they hire through the program, depending on the paid wage amount and the employer’s ability to offer full or part time work. Deeper subsidies are available to small businesses trying to reopen or start a business (100% of the wages reimbursed for the first three months, and 50% for the next three months) and to employers who pay $25/hour or more (50% wage reimbursement for six months).
The Economic Recovery Task Force recommended that the City make several programmatic changes to ensure JobsNOW! serves San Francisco residents and businesses during the City’s recovery from COVID-19, including:
- Provide more subsidized job opportunities.
- Provide job opportunities with career pathways post-subsidized employment.
- Encourage online application, enrollment, and job opportunities.
- Lower barriers for small businesses and job seekers to participate.
- Extend outreach to unemployed people for greater awareness of job opportunities.
- Focus on reaching communities that are the most vulnerable.
In the expanded JobsNOW! program, HSA implemented the recommended changes in order to support the job seekers and businesses most in need. San Francisco has reduced enrollment barriers for program participants and increased the amount of wage subsidy support for small businesses and businesses paying $25/hour or more. Additionally, unemployment insurance and CARES stimulus payments will not count towards a person’s income for purposes of determining program eligibility.
Human Services Agency staff will co-locate at the State’s Employment Development Department office in San Francisco in order to connect people receiving unemployment insurance benefits with JobsNOW! Services, as well as referrals to public benefits for food and health care coverage, and other supports.
“Getting San Franciscans back to work is our priority, and JobsNOW! is an essential tool that will get them back on their feet. This expansion supports our most vulnerable residents, connects job-seekers to work opportunities, and provides incentives to businesses so more employees can be hired,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “As we reopen our economy, local businesses and workers need access to the resources that will help them thrive and this investment in JobsNOW! will create jobs, help our low-income workers build career foundations, and support a more resilient workforce as we lean into San Francisco’s economic recovery.”
“JobsNOW! will help CinemaSF stay afloat by bridging the financial gap between now and the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and allowing us to retain our fantastic employees so they are ready and available when it is time to restart business,” said Adam Bergeron, owner of Balboa Theater.
“The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is proud to partner with the City on JobsNOW! and this new expansion will be a great help to businesses that are looking to rehire and reopen,” said Rodney Fong, President and CEO, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “As businesses recover and look to reopen, we’ll work with our network of employers to make sure they’re aware of the JobsNOW program and the financial assistance it provides, and encourage them to hire local program participants.”
“As the second largest employer in San Francisco, UCSF is committed to building a workforce that reflects our community,” said Francesca Vega, UCSF Vice Chancellor for Community and Government Relations. “We are thrilled to support the Mayor’s expansion of the JobsNOW! program, as UCSF has partnered with JobsNOW! for 10 years to train San Franciscans for careers in healthcare.”
JobsNOW! was created in 2009 in response to the Great Recession. Since 2009, the program has supported 27,000 job placements and 1,600 businesses have participated. JobsNOW! connects participants to both private sector and public sector opportunities. The program funds Public Service Training opportunities at City and County of San Francisco agencies, as well as work experience opportunities through contracted partners, and private employers. According to data from the California Employment Development Department, 59% of program participants were employed three years after exiting subsidized employment, and average quarterly earnings increased 63% over those three years.
JobsNOW! is an inter-agency collaboration with City agencies that connect with employers and job seekers. Participating agencies include the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco’s Office of Small Business, and the State’s Employment Development Department.
- San Francisco residents.
- Authorized to work in the U.S.
- Receive HSA benefits (CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, or cash assistance) or have income below 200% Federal Poverty Level. Unemployment insurance benefits and CARES stimulus payments are excluded from the income calculation.
- San Francisco business registration, Franchise Tax Board account, comply with San Francisco labor lays, and pay California payroll taxes.
- Intend to retain the employee once the subsidy period ends.
- Subsidized wages are consistent with other employees doing the same work.
- Cannot subsidize an existing employee unless they meet the JobsNOW! program and income criteria.
- No favorable hiring for family members.
For more information about the JobsNOW! program, go to: SFHSA.org/JobsNOW or call (877) 562-1669.