A Pipeline In 90 Days

Melissa Bailey PhotoNew Haven’s lawmakers vowed to get moving on a plan to connect local people to new jobs—and gave themselves a deadline.

The deadline comes in a “vision statement” and legislative agenda approved by all 30 members of the Board of Aldermen.

The document, released late Friday afternoon, states the board’s goals for its new term. It represents the resolve of a legislative body with a two-thirds majority of new members—elected on a promise to take more action on jobs, public safety, and opportunities for young people rather than wait for City Hall to set the agenda.

The resolution includes two proposals the board plans to vote on at its upcoming meeting Monday night. One urges the city’s Civil Service Review Board to double the number of points, from five to 10, that a job applicant gets for living in New Haven. The other would create a “Jobs Pipeline Working Group,” which would have 90 days to put together a plan for linking New Haveners, especially in poorer neighborhoods, to the “eds and meds” high tech-related jobs being created in town.

Click here to read the aldermen’s document and an accompanying release.

The pipeline idea grows out of research and community organizing done by the Connecticut Center for a New Economy (CCNE), the group affiliated with Yale’s unions that helped elect a new majority to the board this term. Read about that issue-development work here and here.

Board President Jorge Perez said he’s never before seen such a coming together of aldermen in his more than two decades in office. He noted that all factions of the board signed on to the agenda.

“You have an entire board, regardless of whether you’ve been there 24 years or one or two weeks, agreeing to a vision statement and an overall agenda,” Perez said Sunday. “I can’t remember when that ever happened. People have been asking, with as many aldermen coming in connected to labor, what vision would the [Board of Aldermen] have? To have everybody from every sector of the city and different political alliances coming together like that, I think it’s great.”

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posted by: streever on February 5, 2012  11:57am

I’m glad this Board is able to do things.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it was watching the previous “Board of Aldermen” unable to pass a simple resolution asking the city to design Route 34 to be walkable—per their original grant—while top city staff and consultants from NYC came in and lobbied hard to prevent the resolution from ever being heard at a public meeting.

Thankfully this Board seems capable of exercising independent thought.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 5, 2012  12:07pm

Were will the jobs come from.

Study Reports Connecticut Risks Losing its Fastest Job Growth Technology Firms.

http://ct.typepad.com/ctc_blog/2010/12/ccap.html

posted by: robn on February 5, 2012  1:17pm

I love the part about “COMMITMENT TO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY” “Before looking to taxpayers and city employee to solve any potential budget crisis we will…”

“City Employee”?. Why would you NOT look to city employees help solve budget crises? This union controlled BOA is effectively saying FU to taxpayers who don’t like the property tax hike; reducing workforce or compensation is out of the question for them.

posted by: FacChec on February 5, 2012  1:22pm

Good Re-start…

However, the majority of jobs at industries listed in the resolution and including the City of New Haven are not civil service appointments, therefore, the benefit of the increased point preference will be limited.

This resolution needs to go further to encompass a preference for all city and city related(contracted) position openings.

The Mayor should offer additional improvements to the resolution to ensure implementation with bench marks and measuring tools.
He should sign the resolution post haste.

Remember, the Mayor had announced similar initiatives in his last three state of the city messages, so have the Black and Hispanic Caucus, to no avail.

The BOA resolution needs a component assigning the Department of Economic Development and city plan departments as the lead developers in this effort.

posted by: Curious on February 5, 2012  1:33pm

Why would this be announced on a Friday bad day for news coverage? Aren’t deadlines for submissions before that so obviously its not just because the board meeting is Monday?  Me thinks they are trying to get the jump on the Mayor who gives the State of the City on Monday.

posted by: Ellis Copeland on February 5, 2012  2:04pm

Streever—don’t get too excited. ...Johnny will do what he must to stymie any progress.  Unless his cronies are making money off it no deal of any kind will happen.

posted by: observor1 on February 5, 2012  3:05pm

We’ll see how long the “honeymoon” lasts.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 5, 2012  8:37pm

What jobs in eds and meds are residents from the city’s poorer neighborhoods qualified to get? I sure hope the BOA is going to temper their enthusiasm with a healthy dose of reality. Criminal background checks, drug testing and raw skill and education are all determinative.

posted by: ? on February 6, 2012  1:28am

So CCNE now gets to push their agenda through the New Haven BOA. Be careful what you wish for when you ask for change. Seems like CCNE is in charge now. Ask them where they live.

posted by: Rick Hunter on February 6, 2012  6:57am

Let’s not criticize just for the sake of it. This is a brand new board with interesting ideas and, apparently, a ton of energy, let’s celebrate that. If things go sour later on then we’ll criticize and make accountable those that should be, but right now these are good news.
@noteworthy not everybody has to be a scientist, there can be jobs for receptionist, lab assistants, etc and those are jobs people can be trained easily.
I believe that taking our city out of poverty is a priority, and I celebrate anybody that is doing more than I do, which is just writing comments on a news site

posted by: Xurious on February 6, 2012  8:44am

NHI, did you really moderate out my comment?  What was wrong about wondering whether these people would find a way to make this pipeline happen using city and state resources, or whether they would try to find a way to make Yale pay for it?  Does that not sit with your pro-union views?

posted by: Noteworthy on February 6, 2012  9:44am

Rick Hunter:

I’m glad the BOA is at last and at least focusing on jobs for New Haven residents. The only sector in New Haven’s economic activity that has seen growth in the last 20 years is eds and meds. But the reality is even keepers of the labs who take care of the mice will need to meet minimal standards including a high school diploma and background checks.

During this same period, the graduation rate at New Haven public schools has been 50% or less. Even if they graduate, that is no guarantee these folks have basic employable skills. We have a long history in New Haven of our political establishment starting with the end result and wanting to improve that or make a positive change without doing the spade work or taking the steps necessary to create that outcome. Examples: New schools vs. a 50% graduation rate; New Haven Promise but 80% are college drop outs and 90%+ need remedial english and math help in college; training people in the construction trades when the steady jobs are not there and the training is minimal.

It’s fine to work on the end result for those you can help. But something needs to be done are a more basic level.

posted by: anon on February 6, 2012  11:50am

Someone told me off hand that only 2 of 11 CCNE leaders live in New Haven. Is that true?

If so, it would be no wonder there are few proposals to lower the city’s tax (which becomes rent) burden, which is primarily a stress on lower income minority residents, almost half if not more of whom now pay over 50% of their income towards rent.

posted by: anon on February 6, 2012  1:03pm

“eds and meds”

That often requires a college degree. Unfortunately, out of the half or so of Hillhouse students who do end up graduating from high school, only 15% go on to earn any type of certificate, according to the Board of Regents.

The Board should read up on this issue before making proposals for spending more money on the problem:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/02/06/study-aims-learn-why-some-black-men-succeed-college

Actually want kids to succeed? You need role models. Start by ensuring that we are hiring people within the neighborhoods where they live. What proportion of city employees making at least $45,000 per year live within Newhallville, Dixwell, and West River? Out of those, how many are under age 40?

When kids look around and see literally nobody like them with a job, much less a good job, they don’t have much incentive to stay in school. Living then becomes a question of day to day survival, not a question of what to study and hope for.

posted by: Pro union tax payer on February 6, 2012  6:48pm

I live in New Haven, work in New Haven, and pay astronomical property taxes in New Haven. And I’m pro-union although I’ve never had the chance to join one. It’s a fallacy to claim that the interests of unions or their members are antithetical to the interests of city residents and tax-payers. Particularly because they are frequently one in the same.

It should be clear from the work that Local 34 & 35 at Yale have done over the years that they care about much more than their own wages and benefits. Since they came into existence, the unions have fought to make this community better for the people who live here. And that’s exactly what these new labor-backed Aldermen are doing, as well.

If you want this city to be better then go out and work with your neighbors and elected leaders to make it better. Sitting around complaining and trying to tear people down who are doing something about lack of jobs, violence, and the untenable cost of living in New Haven changes nothing.

Nobody wants taxes to go up in New Haven, OK? ...

posted by: robn on February 6, 2012  8:49pm

PUTP,

Its a fallacy to claim that unionized city employees are frequently city taxpayers because in fact, New Havens workforce is less than 4% of its population and less than than is unionized and less than that live in New Haven.

This very small minority should not dictate the terms of their employment to taxpayers by purchasing themselves election to the Board of Aldermen. I won’t even dignify this by calling it communistic because its not; its really fascistic; a forceful exertion of power through corporate infiltration of government.

posted by: Xurious on February 7, 2012  6:29am

@ robn,

I would ask you the same thing that’s often asked of anon - where are your sources for these numbers?  Is this just hearsay, or your own opinion, or do you have something legitimate you can cite?

posted by: David on February 7, 2012  10:32am

@ robn:

“purchasing themselves election to the Board of Aldermen”? Really?

As Thomas MacMillian has pointed out in this very publication, City Hall-backed and party-endorsed candidates had more than twice as much money at their disposal in the primaries as the labor-backed candidates ($425K and $200K, respectively). These candidates won because they had a volunteer corps of hundreds, most of whom were city residents, and who worked tirelessly for months talking to their friends and neighbors. Moreover, they and their volunteers were and are upset about some of the same things you claim to be upset about: an outrageously high tax burden on city residents, and corporate infiltration of government. Why the anger?

Also, when Jorge Perez says we shouldn’t look to city employees to bear the burdens of balancing the budget on their own, he’s alluding in part to the Mayor’s attempt last year to balance the budget by cutting sick days from the contracts of public school cafeteria workers. We’re not talking about fat-cat municipal bureaucrats here—and no doubt we’d agree about limiting salaries of top city officials—but about workers who feed our children and make barely more than minimum wage as it is.

If we want lower taxes for city residents, we need a healthier revenue base in this city. That can come from only two places: more local jobs, and a heavier tax burden on major city employers, like Yale, who enjoy tax exemptions that cost the city nearly $40 million annually.

posted by: streever on February 7, 2012  12:16pm

David,


“That can come from only two places: more local jobs, and a heavier tax burden on major city employers, like Yale, who enjoy tax exemptions that cost the city nearly $40 million annually.”

Money can come from:
A denser city with more residents—our city is over-built for the population. How do we attract more residents? Jobs are a part of that. Safer communities are another part. An immediate end to highways taking residents out of the city is yet another.

Higher performing neighborhoods. ... do you think we can change federal tax laws in New Haven alone to allow us to tax Yale? Meanwhile, we have struggling neighborhoods with no economic development of any sort. I’d rather see us boost those neighborhoods—block by block—and create the opportunities for small businesses (bodegas, markets, retail) to flourish. We can do this by revising our zoning laws and applying for block development grants.

Ultimately, we’re going to have to spend money to get out of the hole we are in. We need to make this city a place to live instead of a place to drive to.

Building networks to improve local transportation while simultaneously charging more to people driving in is one possible solution. No one is going to quit a 120,000 job at Yale because it costs 5 dollars to drive into New Haven. They’ll take a train or move to the city before they quit.

posted by: robn on February 7, 2012  12:40pm

DAVID and XCURIOUS

Neither you nor I know how much money Mayor D distributed to aldermanic candidates. Neither you nor I can say that the majority of union backed campaign spending and ground troops (equivalent to spending) was New Haven based. What we do know is that there IS outside influence and money and that over $10,000 was spent per Union candidate. This is carpet bombing and It’s just wrong.