COPS/Metro Alliance, the longtime coalition that advocates for working families and is in many ways responsible for the program’s existence, continues to raise concerns.
The group's main issue is making sure those who complete certifications or degrees are indeed hired by the 330 companies who have pledged to support Ready to Work. COPS/Metro leaders say the pledge is not sufficient and have pressed city leaders to extract something akin to job guarantees from those employers.
At a meeting with COPS/Metro in April, Mayor Ron Nirenberg pledged to continue meeting with employers to understand their hiring needs. Walsh, addressing accountability concerns, said the city pays Ready to Work's contractors only when individuals are admitted into the program.
"We structured those contracts to not just pay for activity, but for actual performance," he said. "We meet with those contractors quarterly, to review their stats."
Walsh said his office had not seen any "systemic issues" that would lead it to terminate any of those contracts, although "we have had to make adjustments in terms of recruiting and marketing."...
"I think the city is making some good-faith efforts," said Sonia Rodriguez, a COPS/Metro leader and chair of the board of directors for Project Quest. "We wish they were doing it a lot faster."
[Photo Credit: Scott Ball, San Antonio Report]
Ready to Work Faces Critical Test as Hundreds Poised to Graduate and Seek Jobs, San Antonio Report [pdf]