Black And Hispanic Caucus: “Open The Pipeline”

Markeshia Ricks PhotoThe leaders of the Board of Alders Black and Hispanic Caucus called on the city’s employers to “open the pipeline” and hire local people.

In the caucus’s annual State of the City Address Thursday night, Hill Alder Dolores Colon (pictured above right) and Newhallville Alder Delphine Clyburn told a packed Aldermanic Chamber that the city’s staggering unemployment and underemployment rate is its most pressing problem, and tackling it will go a long way in reducing other issues that the city faces, such as crime and poverty.

They said the city has made strides thanks to New Haven Works, a hiring initiative that has helped more than 500 people find jobs in the 18 months it has existed, and acknowledged former board president and Hill alder, Jorge Perez, for his tireless work in that effort. But they pointed out that it’s a drop in the bucket when one considers the 500 “trained and qualified” people that the program would like to place, but hasn’t been able to match to jobs in the city. It also doesn’t put a dent in the thousands more who have been left behind but are still looking for work. A Department of Labor estimate puts the number of unemployed and underemployed New Haveners at around 20,000.

Colon and Clyburn pointed to a jobs forum that the caucus held in March that drew hundreds of people to City Hall to talk about the jobs crisis in the city, particularly for black and Hispanic New Haveners. 

Clyburn said there are so many people in the city who are eager to work that New Haven Works’ orientations have a waiting list. “Our people are stuck in the pipeline,” she said. “This will not change until employers open their doors and hire more New Haven residents.”

While holding a binder stuffed with their resumes, Clyburn (pictured) said the 500 people were “qualified but not working, or working so far below their skill level in part-time jobs” that they are working multiple jobs in order to feed their families.

“The example of these 500 qualified, pre-screened applicants is a test for our business and government leadership,” Clyburn said. “If you don’t place these 500 people in the next year, what does that say about opportunity for the 20,000 in our city? If we don’t place the 500, what sign does that send to the young people in the homes of the 20,000 about what kind of future they can imagine in our city?”

Clyburn said if the city is serious about turning around the jobs crises in the black and Hispanic communities it has to not only find jobs for the qualified, but make sure to help people who might not be qualified obtain the skills they need to find work.

“To basic literacy, to advance technical skills, we need to ensure that whatever programs and resources someone needs to become qualified are in place,” she said. Clyburn said residents need to avail themselves of resources that help them prepare for the kinds of jobs that employers are looking to fill.

But Colon pointed out that “all the training in the world, all the help writing your resume, all the practicing for interviews won’t matter if employers aren’t willing to look at the candidates from our city.”

“The federal government spends more than $18 billion a year on job training programs, but many of them lack the crucial final link: an employer that is committed to hire qualified candidates,” she said.

They applauded Yale University for committing to increasing its local hiring, but they called on the university, Yale-New Haven Hospital and other area employers, particularly those involved in the $2 billion worth of development that is going to happen in the city, to commit to doing more.

“Just imagine the impact that 500 good jobs could have on our community right now,” Colon said. “That’s 500 people who could afford to work just one job and could focus more energy into their neighborhoods. That’s 500 people better positioned to own homes and share in building our city’s tax base. That’s 500 parents who wouldn’t have to work a second job and could spend time with their families.”

“Good jobs for community residents is not a political problem,” Clyburn said. “It is our collective problem.”


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posted by: KatieP on April 21, 2015  11:14am

500 qualified applicants?  Qualified how?  There are jobs out there in New Haven…

posted by: HewNaven on April 21, 2015  11:22am

Sounds like a job for a plumber.

That was a joke. He’s totally unqualified for the job of mayor.

posted by: cunningham on April 21, 2015  12:24pm

I’ve never been able to find one. Everyone I know who works in New Haven, two excepted who work for Yale, works in the service industry (I don’t). I commute to Wallingford.

I was at the March jobs forum and the meeting of the board last night. This article doesn’t mention how many people were standing in the back of the room - at least a hundred by my reckoning, thanks to New Haven Rising.

Here are a couple of examples of the 500 in the binder, quoted from the article on the March meeting:

“Over the last 10 years [Ransome] has worked in property management as an account clerk, in collection services and as an administrative assistant. She lost her last job in 2013.”

“In 2009, [Jose Soto] lost his job with a pharmaceutical company where he’d worked for 14 years when it decided to downsize. The job loss cost his family its house. With the help of New Haven Works he [is] working a temporary position, his second, at Yale University.”

These are people with years, sometimes decades of experience in professional, skilled positions. Not bums too lazy to do their own legwork. Kudos to the Caucus for tackling the issue head-on, by appealing directly to employers instead relying on ineffectual policy fixes.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on April 21, 2015  12:35pm

I applaud both for bringing attention to the plight of unemployment in the city.  They’re correct in asserting that hiring within increases the tax base; and I would venture to say it also reduces the crime rate.

The business community can’t on one hand complain about crime in the city and on the other hand do nothing about it.  We’re talking about hiring trained and qualified candidates, to fill these positions.  By not hiring “qualified” people from the very city in which businesses gain their wealth and yet complain about crime, that of in itself is the height hypocrisy.

Good job ladies, keep up the good work.

posted by: mechanic on April 21, 2015  12:37pm

What are the statistics on the number of open jobs in New Haven?  Are there actually that many jobs available for people with those specific qualifications?  Is that what’s really holding up the employment of all these folks, that employers won’t hire New Haven people? 

It’s great to train people, but did we train 500 people for jobs that don’t exist?  That doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

posted by: The Realist on April 21, 2015  12:52pm

Dear Board of Alders Black and Hispanic Caucus. I understand your desire to create more jobs in New Haven, but I’m afraid you are looking at this backwards.  You cannot legislate jobs.  You cannot dictate that businesses must hire more workers.  No amount of waving binders full of ‘qualified’ workers resumes will do anything, if businesses do not need any more workers.

Governments dont make jobs, business makes jobs.  If a business cannot make money in a location, or it is too difficult, expensive or time consuming to do business there - they will go elsewhere (or simply not start any business)... and no jobs will be created.

If you are serious about creating more jobs in New Haven, first and foremost, you must make the city more congenial to business, reduce the costs of doing business in New Haven and generally do what you can to create the right environment that draws business to New Haven, and makes it cheap and easy to start businesses in New Haven. 

As an owner of several small businesses in New Haven (employer of 25), I can tell you that New Haven is a very expensive and difficult place to do business.  If you REALLY want to help these people get jobs, start with city hall and Mayor Harp.  Reduce the heavy burden of property taxes on businesses, eliminate the bureaucratic licenses, fees, permissions, reduce the overbearing regulations - all these things add to the cost of doing business. 

The greater burden you foist on businesses, the less economic activity will take place in New Haven and the fewer & smaller businesses you will have and the fewer jobs there will be.

Supporting Business = Supporting More Jobs

I am planning to start another business soon, but it will not be in New Haven for these same reasons.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 21, 2015  1:18pm

MARCUS GARVEY ON “Negro leadership and what it means”
“I would not exchange two five-cent cigars-even though not a smoker-for all the Colored or Negro political leaders, or rather misleaders, of our time. The fraternity is heartless, crafty and corrupt. They exist for themselves only and give no honest thought to the future, nor the condition of the people, except to exploit the aid condition to… their political benefit.
The leaders of the race are vision less and selfish. They think of none but themselves
Among the whites, we have a few political charlatans and crooks, but that race can well afford, under the circumstances, to tolerate them, because they are surrounded and circumvented by Statesmen and race Patriots who are ever vigilant and on guard in protecting the rights of their people. Among us Negroes, there is no relief from such a class, because they monopolize our politics and obstruct our outlook. The only tempering hope is religion, and that is like dry bones, we have to wait a long while for them to come together in the Valley.

posted by: eliantonio on April 21, 2015  1:48pm

every year, thousands and thousands of migrant workers come to new haven in search of work, and they find it, and they stay and bring in more people from the many places they come from.  So there are jobs a plenty in the area.  There is no shame in working, no matter what the job.  you work hard, you make yourself needed.  its a formula that still works today. 
And why is there a need for a black and hispanic caucus?  Race is a thing because people perseverate on it.

posted by: HewNaven on April 21, 2015  1:52pm

3/5 is right. We should only elect white leaders.

posted by: WeR1nhv on April 21, 2015  2:09pm

I for one am very proud of all the hard work the community and our allies on the Board of Alders are doing to turn our city around. If we are serious about addressing crime, violence, education, even property taxes then we have to get serious about tackling this jobs crisis. And all the snarky commentary and shiny data in the world from the beloved NHI arm chair critics won’t get us a hair closer to solving these problems.

However, if leveraged correctly (i.e. With a concerted effort from elected and business leaders) the 80,000+ existing jobs coupled with the billions of dollars in new development and thousands of new jobs WILL get us closer to solving the crisis. But not if we don’t stand together and insist that companies make a real commitment to partnering with our fair city and to hiring our qualified, competent, hard working residents. As the economic hub of the region, companies benefit from doing business in New Haven. It’s only right and fair that our city and its people should benefit, too.

But We have to cease and desist with the conventional wisdom that says black & Latino New Haveners aren’t educated or qualified for the jobs. New Haven Works has long since disproved that. And let’s be clear: there ARE jobs. And many more on the way. Are we going to get access to them? History tells us we will not unless we stand and fight as one united community.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on April 21, 2015  3:04pm

posted by: HewNaven on April 21, 2015 2:52pm

3/5 is right. We should only elect white leaders.

Never said to only elect white leaders,Show me.

posted by: HewNaven on April 21, 2015  9:18pm

Sorry 3/5. I got confused by your arcane reference. What you’re saying is that there are currently no decent black leaders on the board. Just a few charlatans, not even worth two 5¢ cigars. My bad.

posted by: KatieP on April 22, 2015  7:45am

Cunningham, you list someone with accounting experience in your comment.

Here are 9 accounting jobs open at Yale right now, from entry-level through management.

How many jobs has this person applied for and gotten an interview?  Not gotten an interview?  How many CV’s have been sent out?

This is the kind of detail you need to prove whether there is or isn’t a problem with people getting jobs in New Haven.  the people who are paid big bucks to administer these “jobs programs” should be able to provide these kind of real, detailed numbers.

When an alder doesn’t show up with real facts, and just shows up waving a binder full of candidates as a prop, I have to question that person’s sincerity and/or competence in the matter at hand.

STARS Requisition number
Original Posting Date
Yale Posting Status
University Job Title
Posting Position Title
Type of Employment
Salary Grade

Accountant 2 - Grant
Accountant 2
Cancer Ctr
Full Time

Financial Assistant 4
YSM Financial Ops
Full Time

Financial Assistant 3
Lib Bs Ofc
Full Time

Financial Assistant 3
Treasury Srvcs
Full Time

Lead Administrator 3
Director of Finance and Administration, Information Technology
Office of the CIO, ITS
Full Time

Financial Assistant 4
YSM Financial Ops
Full Time

Accountant 2 - Grant
School of Public Health
Full Time

Account Assistant 3
YMG Patient Registration
Full Time

Associate Director, Post Award (FRMS)
Business Operations
Full Time

posted by: Noteworthy on April 22, 2015  9:00am

In this one sorry story, you have the embodiment of what is fundamentally wrong with the leadership in this city. It panders, promises and preens to the applause and standing ovation of the other posers while feeding the masses a steady diet of entitlement and enslaved pablum that “the man” or “the business” is holding them down and keeping them from earning a living or being a respectable citizen. That’s just crap.

posted by: Jim Berger on April 22, 2015  10:11am

Hi Katie P,
Perhaps you could get answers to your question by calling up New Haven Works. I’m sure they’re aware of these postings and are looking for specific people to fill them. Also you might call the relevant offices at Yale who have made the postings. As you probably know, Yale’s contract with its unions requires it to work with New Haven Works in order to hire New Haven residents whenever possible. Yale has hired over 300 people through NHW already; this process is ongoing—it needs to be accelerated!

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on April 22, 2015  10:40am

HN I saw a “Jake the snake” truck drive by my house the other day.  Still says Jake.  That’s all I have to say about that…

Maybe New Haven is the place where unemployable people end up living.  You need to figure out why they are poor candidates for employment, or figure out how to attract jobs that they can do/keep.  Beyond that I’m not sure how you can entice employers to hire, not based on the best qualifications, but based on an arbitrary location of residence.

Maybe a better way to get these people jobs would be to find a way to send them to where the jobs are.  Bismarck, ND has unemployment at 3%; I think it would be easier to find a way to move someone there for a job than to figure out how to move a job here for them.

[Ed.: Jake the Snake is a different company.]

posted by: HewNaven on April 22, 2015  1:12pm


Keitazulu’s company is called “Nate the Snake”.

But, other than that, your point was too convoluted. Are you saying, something like New Haven Works is a total waste of time? Or that we should try other things in addition??

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on April 22, 2015  2:46pm

I wasn’t aware there was a second company called “Jake the Snake”, I thought that was SK in an non-updated truck.

I’m not sure how to state the rest more simply.  If the reason for New Haven’s employment issues is that New Haven is the only place people can afford to live when they have employment issues, that is not a hole you can train your way out of, or attract enough jobs to solve.  When people get full employment and can afford to leave, they will, and New Haven’s employment situation will remain the same.

If you want to help those people get work, the best use of those funds would be to help relocate individuals to places where jobs are available.  I’m sure we could have helped those 500 relocate to a job with the money spent trying to train/attract one for them here.

If you want to make NH a place where people choose to live when they have full employment then there’s a whole lot of stuff that needs to change and I think the majority of those who have a say in what happens in New Haven, would object to those changes.

posted by: KatieP on April 23, 2015  10:47am

Wikus, Keitazulu named his business “Nate the Snake” to trick people into thinking he was “Jake the Snake” plumbing.  He called it “a marketing move”.

So he’s clearly mayor material, at least here in New Haven.  At least he’s up-front about tricking people, which would be a welcome change.

“Three years ago, Keitazulu started his plumbing business, Nate the Snake. He chose the name because it was similar to a successful competitor’s. “I saw Jake the Snake down the street,” Keitazulu said. “I did a marketing move so that people would think I was him.””

posted by: wendy1 on April 23, 2015  3:13pm

I know both guys who snake in the ghetto, Jake and “Nate”.  Jake is cool about Nate and much older.  I invited him to SK press conference on Bassett St.  I like both guys.  There is plenty of snaking to be done.

I think 300 is a pathetic # for “New Haven Works” after 3 years.  Some of these jobs are temps and janitor jobs.  Yale is on a 5 year layoff plan.  Most jobs here pay poverty wages and require online application over and over and over.  Home Depot is hiring and the manager told me it would take a year of applying before they contacted me.  I checked with an employee and she said it took her 2 years!!!