By John Murray
Jessie Rivera came before the Waterbury Board of Aldermen last night in City Hall to talk about his positive experience with the city's Good Jobs Program, which requires contractors doing work for the city to make a good faith effort to hire residents, women and minorities. In the past the program has been harshly criticized for a lack of oversight, but several months ago the compliance administration of the program was transfered to the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board , whose director, Cathy Awwad, left, said compliance rates have shot up.
The key to compliance is tracking down weekly payroll information from the construction companies, and holding them accountable. Rivera was effusive in his praise for the training he received through the program and was grateful to land a construction job. During the first moments of his talk Rivera pointed to a slide Awwad had been presenting to the board and said, "see that guy up there, that's me." And for that, he was very grateful.