This year, the city of Akron will award bids for five projects that are part of a long-term plan to overhaul its combined sewer system. The construction, estimated to cost around $29 million, will be performed under labor agreements that reserve at least 30 percent of each projectís total work hours for Akron residents.

So, how do the hours (now estimated at 194,854) translate into actual jobs for Akron residents? It will depend largely on how contractors choose to get work done on time.

For a rough idea, consultants crunched the numbers and arrived at the equivalent of 94 full-time jobs, each lasting one year, for the work being bid this year. How that develops will depend on how fast the construction work proceeds (the tighter the time frame, the more people, such as masons and bricklayers, needed at any one time) and whether the same crews end up being hired for different projects.

At this point, the city has planned for $1.4 billion in contracts extending to 2028, although it is working to extend the time frame and alter the type of work to include green infrastructure such as permeable pavement, rain gardens and man-made wetlands. The local share of the project work hours will rise to 50 percent by 2018.

However that translates into real people, it is important that the city follow through with its system of rewards and punishments for meeting hiring goals, closely monitoring compliance and making sure outreach and training programs are effective, putting as much local money into the local economy as possible.