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Breaking Down the Wall

Opening Building-Trade Careers to Low-Income People of Color

By Hannah Roditi & Naomi Zauderer

In cities across the country, people of color have battled for decades to gain entry to the building trades, particularly to the unionized trades that offer training, good pay, and good benefits. Community leaders in Waterbury, Connecticut, formed a coalition of local and national organizations, cultivated union and press relationships, and assembled legal advisors to win binding resident-hiring requirements for city-funded construction projects. The result is one of the country's strongest local-hiring laws, crafted to withstand constitutional challenge.

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