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Atlanta City Council approves $1.6 million to create jobs for disadvantaged residents

By Stephen Deere, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga (CNT)

The Atlanta City Council has approved a $1.6 million plan that would provide thousands of dollars in grants to firms that create middle-wage jobs for the unemployed, veterans, homeless and ex-offenders. 

The resolution, unanimously approved on Monday, requires that the jobs pay between $40,000 to $80,000. 

Its purpose is to combat the city’s vast income inequality.

“Despite Atlanta’s array of economic growth over the last several decades, Atlanta has the highest income inequality of any city in the United Staes and has continued to grow more unequal over the past decade,” the resolution says. 

It also notes that the income of 25.5 percent of the city’s residents is estimated to fall below the federal poverty level, and that African American residents are disproportionately impoverished.

The amount of grant money that will be awarded varies by the number of jobs created. Firms that hire between 25 and 49 economically disadvantaged residents can receive as much as $1,000 per job. Firms that hire more than 150 people in the target groups can obtain as much as $2,000 per job. 

The jobs must come with health insurance, go to those without traditional four-year degrees and last for at least one year. 

Recipients must also agree to submit data showing they are in compliance with the program. 

Councilman Matt Westmoreland, who chairs the Community Development and Human Services Committee, authored the resolution. 

To pay for the program, the council reallocated $1.6 million in excess money from the street car trust fund.