Mayor Reed, Chronicle join to encourage employers to hire

By Maria Saporta
Friday, February 18, 2011

A public-private partnership wants metro companies to put Atlantans back to work.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced the new metrowide initiative — Hire One Atlanta — aimed at challenging employers to hire at least one new employee this year.

In return, Atlanta Business Chronicle will spotlight all companies that have hired a new employee in a special ad that will run every week in its publication throughout the year.

“Hire One Atlanta is a campaign that encourages every business in the city to hire at least one new employee,” Reed said when announcing the initiative at his State of the City Business Breakfast on Feb. 22. If each of the region’s 150,000 employers hires just one person, that would total 150,000 jobs.

The Hire One Atlanta initiative is the brainchild of Ed Baker, publisher of Atlanta Business Chronicle, who was looking for a way to stimulate the economy by getting companies to hire the unemployed.

“We want to adjust the attitude in the marketplace,” Baker said. “We hope we can celebrate the companies that are doing the right thing.”

The initiative is a metrowide partnership that includes the Atlanta Business League, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Society of Human Resource Management and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. All those organizations have agreed to work with their members, their constituencies and other organizations to encourage maximum participation.

“We need to try every idea we can to increase employment,” said Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “It’s very good to get all of the companies in metro Atlanta pulling in the same direction. If Hire One can encourage several dozen companies to start moving, this could create momentum. It could make a big difference in the community’s attitude about the economy.”

Milton Little, president of Atlanta’s United Way, said he was delighted to join the initiative and to encourage others to participate.

“Finding a way for each employer to hire one person is one smart and reasonable way to try to create a significant dent in the big unemployment problem that we are all facing,” Little said.

Little went on to say that the Hire One initiative was a meaningful way companies can become involved in reducing our region’s high unemployment.

“It’s one step that each employer would be able to take,” Little said. “Given our relationship with the employer community in our workplace campaign, we have an opportunity to reach out to thousands of employers in the area and alert them to this initiative. We are going to be using our network for communicating the story and encouraging as many employers to join in.”

Reed said the initiative will help build community.

“It’s one of the strongest ideas that I’ve heard as mayor,” he said. “This is something we can do. It can lift us up. And I think it’s going to generate a lot of positive energy.”

This is not the first time Atlanta Business Chronicle has launched a communitywide initiative. Twenty years ago, the city of Atlanta could not afford to buy bulletproof vests for its police officers. The Chronicle launched a public service campaign to get the community to buy the vests.

“We raised $200,000,” Baker said. “And then-Mayor Maynard Jackson put in $100,000. We were able to get bulletproof vests for every officer, and that continues through today. With Hire One, we wanted to take the same concept as the vests and execute it the same way.”

If all of metro Atlanta’s companies participate, it virtually would wipe out much of the region’s unemployment problem. No matter what, Baker said, Atlanta Business Chronicle wants to give positive exposure to every company that does hire a new employee by listing it in the newspaper.

“We want to provide measurable proof that people are hiring people. That’s part of the enlightenment,” said Baker, who said the Chronicle is making a $200,000 commitment to the program.

Whenever a company hires a new employee, all it will need to do is go to and fill out a form. The weekly ads listing the companies will start on March 11.

“I applaud the Atlanta Business Chronicle for taking the initiative,” Williams said. “We need to try every good idea these days to help the economy. And I’m hopeful that we are beginning to see signs of an economic turnaround.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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