The dominant narrative is that New York City’s economy is booming. But it’s only booming for some. In places like Brownsville, Brooklyn and University Heights in the Bronx, unemployment is still more than 10%, compared to the city-wide rate of 4.3%.
Through his $1.4 billion New York Works plan, Mayor de Blasio will incentivize private companies in the life sciences, tech, and other STEM sectors to create jobs in New York City. Yet, jobs in these sectors are largely inaccessible to the people who need them most. New Yorkers in need of high-quality, long-term employment — including those working in low-wage fields, receiving public assistance, or the unemployed — need levels of training to access those jobs that tech companies are not willing to provide. So these ready, willing, and able workers are often excluded from employment opportunities at these firms. When it comes to economic inequality, this tech-centric strategy will not address the “Tale of Two Cities.” What we’re seeing instead, is a “gentrification of the labor market”, in which the jobs created through public investment go to predominantly young, white professionals.
This report sets out a vision for the future of work in New York City.
We need a “people-driven” economic development program that creates access to good jobs for the people who need them most. New York City must safeguard taxpayer dollars and transform its relationship with wealthy corporations by establishing formal mechanisms to ensure corporate accountability, community oversight, and transparency. The Mayor can combat income inequality by investing in training, education, and union apprenticeship programs that lead to good paying, permanent jobs with a real pathway to the middle class for New York’s low-income communities of color that are struggling with the highest rates of unemployment.
The report is the first published by members of the Our Jobs Our Future Campaign – a coalition of organizations that have come together to ensure that New York City’s economic and workforce development programs create real employment opportunities and community stability for all New Yorkers, especially for residents of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
Supporting organizations of Our Jobs Our Future are ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York; Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development; Community Service Society; Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ, Inc.; New York City Employment and Training Coalition; New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health; New York Communities for Change; Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.