Since graduating two years ago from a small private high school in Queens, Ya’seen Madyun has completed a culinary training program and has attended security training courses, all in the hopes of landing a job that pays anywhere near $50,000.
In January, Mr. Madyun, now 22, sought assistance at one of the city’s Workforce1 centers. He said he was directed toward an opening at a Family Dollar on New Lots Avenue in Brooklyn, a good 90-minute subway ride from his home in Far Rockaway, Queens. When he arrived, 15 people were already waiting to apply.
“I’m used to a line,” Mr. Madyun said, adding that he never heard back about the job. He knows many young people in his neighborhood who are in a similar situation. “They want a full-time job,” he said, “anything 9 to 5.”
It has been a year since Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a $1.5 billion New York Works program aimed at creating 100,000 jobs paying $50,000 or more over the next decade. The program is designed to tackle what the mayor calls an “affordability crisis” by creating jobs in fields such as technology and life sciences.
The city, which is preparing to release its first progress report on its effort, declined to share detailed data about the jobs it has created so far. But a coalition of labor and community groups says one obvious need has emerged: They say the city needs to do more to connect people in the city’s poorest neighborhoods to the new jobs.
“The make-or-break question in the mayor’s proposal is: Jobs for whom?” said Jesse Laymon, the director of policy and advocacy for the New York City Employment and Training Coalition.
While unemployment in New York City is at historic lows — falling to 4.1 percent in April, the lowest since the figure began being tracked — it is far higher in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, the unemployment rate is at 14 percent, according to the most recent figures from the New York University Furman Center; in the University Heights and Fordham sections of the Bronx, unemployment is at 12.7 percent.
Firmly represented among the unemployed are a high percentage of young people who are neither working nor in school, and who do not have the necessary skills to land the new jobs. According to the New York Works proposal, “2.2 million New Yorkers lack the education or training necessary to start on a pathway to a career” that would pay them $50,000 or more annually.
“We see certain industries growing in the city without a plan for communities who have been disenfranchised to have access to not only the jobs, but the training so that they can enter the pipeline for those jobs,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, the executive director of the Alliance for a Greater New York.
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