Mayor de Blasio And Others Call On The State To Pass Community Hiring Legislation

March 17, 2021

Mayor Bill de Blasio, labor unions, industry leaders, and advocates today called on the State Legislature to pass Community Hiring legislation that will affect communities from Harlem to Hollis.

Which will harness the City’s economic power and help ensure a fair and equitable recovery by providing employment and apprenticeship opportunities for low-income people and residents of economically disadvantaged communities or NYCHA. 133 organizations recently sent a letter to the State Legislature in support of the Mayor’s plan.

COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities and communities of color,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “A recovery for all of us will be built by focusing on these communities and creating good jobs for the people who need them the most. Community hiring legislation will put more money in the hands of working people by creating new opportunities for New Yorkers in need to success. I urge the State Legislature to join the cause and pass community hiring into law.”

“Community Hiring has long been a demand from communities of color in New York City. A key way we can lift people out of poverty is to bring job opportunities to those who haven’t had them,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson. “I stand alongside the coalition of over 130 advocates in labor and advocacy to call on the State to pass Community Hiring. As I have said in the past, City dollars can do more than get work done, they can lift people out of poverty. A good job is the best anti-poverty program we can support.”

Economic disparities have widened due to the economic and health effects of COVID-19. State legislation would allow the City to develop and implement a Community Hiring Program to help reverse that trend. For construction and building service labor, hiring goals are based on geographic areas that are economically disadvantaged. For other work, such as a technology or inspection services contract, hiring is based on an individual’s income. This plan would generate an estimated 40,000 jobs annually for target individuals and communities and would provide an estimated $1 billion in wages and benefits for newly hired individuals during the first full year of the program. Over the next five years, the City estimates the Community Hiring Program will generate nearly 200,000 jobs for low-income people and residents of economically disadvantaged communities.

This legislation enables the City to connect contractors with apprenticeships and referral sources such as workforce development programs that will help them meet their hiring goals by training and referring qualified talent. Such workforce development programs could include ones that typically serve NYCHA residents, people with disabilities, justice-involved individuals, CUNY graduates or immigrants.

“We’re proud to work with our partners at both the city and state level to ensure this Community Hiring legislation serves as a pathway to not just jobs, but real middle-class careers for New Yorkers from historically underserved neighborhoods. This legislation recognizes the fundamental role of union pre-apprenticeship and direct-entry programs in launching the careers of working people and ensures that the immediate economic impact of shovel-ready New York City construction projects will benefit minority New York neighborhoods with opportunity, investment, and good middle-class careers with benefits. We’re thankful for the City’s leadership in advancing this important legislation, and we will continue to advocate for its passage through the New York State Senate and Assembly,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York

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“Community Hiring legislation will ensure that New Yorkers in underserved neighborhoods have a pathway to middle-class career opportunities and that those most heavily impacted by the pandemic can get back to work. This legislation recognizes that apprenticeship and workforce programs are an investment in the future of our city and that the economic impact of building activities needs to be felt in every neighborhood across the five boroughs. The Building Congress is proud to partner on this effort with City leadership and the building industry, and we urge the State Senate and Assembly to pass this measure, which will help our city recover from the impact of COVID-19.” said Carlo A. Scissura, Esq., President & CEO, New York Building Congress.

New Yorkers in low-income communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and investing in them right now would contribute significantly to the City’s recovery.

“Passing the Community Hiring bill would yield enormous benefits to our City,” said Sheena Wright, President & CEO of United Way of NYC. “New Yorkers in low-income communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and investing in them right now would contribute significantly to the City’s recovery.”

“In New York City, low-income communities were hardest hit by the pandemic and remain the most at risk of being left behind in recovery. The newly proposed Community Hiring legislation will harness the economic power of the City to ensure that these communities, which are predominantly communities of color, not only can finally access good jobs through City initiatives but are prioritized for these opportunities,” said Jose Ortiz, Jr., CEO of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. “We need more pathways for workers to access direct pipelines for jobs that will raise marginalized communities and low-income families out of poverty. This is a first and important step towards an equitable and inclusive recovery.”

“Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) applauds New York City’s bold plan for community hiring in construction. The City’s agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater NY will build on NEW’s proven model that transforms the economic prospects of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, particularly low-income Black and Brown women who are disproportionately bearing the burden of COVID-19 and the related recession. Community hiring is a key step toward equity in our communities, and we look forward to continuing our work with the City, New York’s unionized apprenticeship programs and their contractors to advance equity in the recovery,” said Kathleen Culhane, President, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW).

“This Community Hiring legislation is essential to ensuring that the underserved communities who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are central to New York City’s recovery, which will be led by investment in infrastructure, construction, and public work projects across the five boroughs. Union pre-apprenticeship and direct-entry programs are vital to creating middle-class careers for thousands of New Yorkers, and we’re excited to support this first-of-its-kind legislation to create real opportunity for New York’s underserved communities through the union building trades,” said Nicole Bertrán, Executive Vice President, The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills.

Race and zip code conscious community hiring is a way for the City to invest back in the communities that were hardest hit by COVID19 because of existing structural inequities and health disparities.

“Race and zip code conscious community hiring is a way for the City to invest back in the communities that were hardest hit by COVID19 because of existing structural inequities and health disparities. With poverty being one of the largest social determinants of health, by helping disadvantaged communities recover economically, the city is also helping them lead healthier and longer lives. In many ways, investments in employment are just as much a part of creating a more robust public health infrastructure as any other health care related plan,” said C. Virginia Fields, President, and CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on Health, Inc. (Black Health).

“The City’s economic recovery will hinge largely on its efforts to create employment pathways for those who have been surviving on the margins throughout this pandemic. We applaud the City for its commitment to pushing Community Hiring legislation in support of NYCHA residents and the development of a stronger, more equitable citywide workforce,” said Gregory J. Morris, President, and Executive Director, Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center.

“The Community Hiring plan would be a gamechanger for economic justice in New York City. The HOPE Program connects New Yorkers with the training and resources to succeed in their careers, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. We need comprehensive legislation to ensure that low-income communities have access to good jobs,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director, The HOPE Program.

“Local hires matter,” said LaShawn Henry, CEO, Urban Strategies of New York, Inc.

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