Thousands of job opportunities are expected to be provided under a new hiring policy for area projects, including the next phase of the Metro Exposition Light Rail Transit Line extension to Santa Monica.

The Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority voted unanimously Sept. 20 to approve a motion by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to establish a Construction Careers Policy (CCP) for the hiring of local residents for the Expo Line project.

“This CCP is the strongest employment policy in Metro Transit Authority’s (MTA) history,” Ridley-Thomas said of the plan. “It will bring over 4,000 desperately needed jobs to residents in our community who will now have employment opportunities with future light rail, subway, and highway projects.”

Phase II of the Expo Line project will extend from Culver City to Santa Monica, providing both construction-period and permanent job opportunities for hundreds of local residents, Ridley-Thomas noted. The supervisor praised the new policy for creating jobs for projects funded through Measure R, which was approved by voters.

“This will be an extremely significant local hiring policy and will help to ensure that Measure R ‘half cent sales tax’ funded projects will benefit L.A. County residents,” the supervisor said.

Under the proposal, the new CCP policy will ensure that at least 30 percent of total construction hours, under a Project Labor Agreement with building trade unions, are performed by local residents who live in high unemployment zip codes, where rates are equal to or in excess of 150 percent of the county average, or within five miles of the project alignment from L.A. to Santa Monica, a Ridley-Thomas spokesman said.

At least one third of that amount will be set aside for economically disadvantaged individuals who reside in the construction area, the spokesman said.

Ridley-Thomas spearheaded the policy effort, which he said is a key victory in his campaign to put Second District residents back to work.

The next step is a similar policy for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center and buildings surrounding the renovation of the In-Patient Tower—the site of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital.