Yale Begins Laying “Pipeline”

Thomas MacMillan PhotoIn a discussion about improving town/gown relations with Yale, city lawmakers offered several suggestions: help set up the “jobs pipeline,” expand the university’s homebuyer program, and extend Yale shuttle service to all New Haveners.

Bruce Alexander, Yale’s head of New Haven and State Affairs, didn’t make any promises in response to those requests but assured aldermen the university would discuss them further. He said Yale is already at work developing its own jobs pipeline as well as helping to create a larger one for the city.

Alexander made those comments at a Monday night briefing of the Board of Aldermen. He and his staff met with 17 of the city’s 30 aldermen in a room at the Dixwell Yale Community Learning Center on Ashmun Street. It was the latest in a number of briefings aldermen have put together recently. Lawmakers were briefed on the Shubert theater in March; this month they’ll be briefed on Yale-New Haven Hospital and the city’s Safe Streets Manual.

The briefings come at the request of a Board of Aldermen that this year contains a large number of rookie lawmakers, many of whom swept into office on a tide of support from Yale unions, which recently settled a new contract with the university. The union-backed-majority board has been working on a stated agenda of jobs, youth, and public safety.

The centerpiece of the jobs piece has been an effort dubbed the “jobs pipeline,” envisioned as a way to prepare more New Haveners for local jobs and make sure they end up in them. It’s an effort that Yale has signed on to, both as a presence on the city’s jobs pipeline committee and by beginning to work on a jobs pipeline of its own at the university. Yale and its union included a “pipeline” in their recently reached four-year contract, which will help low-wage workers, for instance, train for higher-skilled positions and open spaces for local entry-level employees in the process.

Asked after the meeting about Yale’s jobs pipeline efforts, Alexander said that Yale has appointed human resources staffer Diane Turner to work full time on developing it. He said he didn’t have details on exactly how it will work, but that the effort would be towards increasing the number of New Haven residents that can be hired at Yale. The first step is to identify which jobs at Yale would be most appropriate, he said.

Reached by phone, Laurie Kennington, head of Yale’s Local 34 union, offered some details on the Yale pipeline effort. She said the pipeline is enshrined in language in the recent contract.

Most Yale employees start their employment with the university as casual workers, that is, non-permanent workers without benefits. The university has made a commitment to finding ways to hire more New Haveners into these positions, Kennington said. The university will also be giving priority to people who emerge from any local training programs that the citywide jobs pipeline sets up.

The contract also has a focus on “promoting from within,” Kennington said. As Yale promotes more local people to better jobs at the university, more spots will open up below that can be filled by local people at entry levels, she said.

“The university has been really wonderful in saying this is a priority,” she said.

1/3 Of Workforce Is Local

Alexander (pictured) and other Yale officials mentioned that pipeline several times Monday night as they laid out for aldermen a recent history of Yale’s cooperation with the city of New Haven. Yale’s contributions to the city can be separated into three themes, Alexander said: Jobs and “tax base strength,” “human development” especially of young people, and “neighborhood partnerships.”

Lauren Zucker, Yale’s director of New Haven affairs, tackled the first theme. Yale is the city’s largest employer, ahead of Yale-New Haven Hospital. Yale employs over 4,000 New Haveners, about a third of the university’s staff, and pays them over $325 million in wages each year, Zucker said.

Yale has helped created jobs by bolstering a burgeoning biotech boomlet in town and by sprouting new businesses at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, said Zucker.

She put up a chart showing the growth of Yale’s voluntary payments to the city over the years, from $2.3 million in fiscal year 2005, to $8.1 million in fiscal year 2012. In addition, Yale pays $4 million in property taxes each year, and $15 million in permit fees over the three years, and the city gets over $30 million each year in state payments in lieu of taxes for Yale’s tax exempt property, Zucker said.

Karen King, who works with Zucker, took over to talk about Yale’s support for “local youth.” In addition to its partnerships with local schools and programs, the university brings thousands of kids to campus for programs, she said. She wowed aldermen with two long lists of programs for kids sponsored by Yale, including the $4 million Yale plans to give each year to New Haven Promise, the city’s college scholarship program.

Alexander, talking about the third theme of “Neighborhood Partnerships, spoke about the success of Yale’s Homebuyer Program, which helps Yale employees buy houses in certain neighborhoods in town. He spoke about Science Park and community gardens and the work Yale has done to transform dilapidated homes into shiny refurbished houses.

Fair Haven Heights Alderwoman Brenda Jones-Barnes (pictured) asked about expanding the homebuyer program into her ward. She offered to give Alexander a tour of the neighborhood. He said Yale does the program in neighborhoods that it believes need it.

Beaver Hills Alderman Brian Wingate (pictured) said the city still has a town/gown divide. “There’s still an us and them perception out there,” he said.

Hill Alderman Jorge Perez, the president of the board, said town-gown communication has improved dramatically during his 24 years in office. “It’s like day and night.”

It would improve even more, Perez said, if Yale increases the percentage of employees who are New Haveners. As that percentage increases from 30 percent up to 40 or 50 percent or even higher, “the whole feeling will be much better,” he said.

Shuttle Diplomacy?

East Rock Alderman Jessica Holmes offered another suggestion: Open up the Yale shuttle service so that all New Haveners can hop on and off the buses. “It’s a great service,” she said. But the fact that it’s open only to Yale-affiliated people “reinforces some of the town/gown divisions.”

Alexander promised to help set up a meeting with the person who runs the shuttle service.

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posted by: anonymous on July 31, 2012  2:21pm

Yale employs 4,000 New Haveners.  There are at least 10,000 unemployed and underemployed workers living in New Haven. That figure does not count youth, who rarely can get to jobs.

Increasing the percentage of “local” workers at Yale from 30% to 40%, as Perez suggests Yale do, therefore wouldn’t make a huge difference in our unemployment rate, especially considering the number of workers who will be decamping to the suburbs as soon as their large raises kick in over the next few years. 

Adding shuttle service would be great, if you work at Yale, but wouldn’t help the other 10,000 unemployed people that much. The youth program idea is great, but doesn’t help unemployed parents all that much.

Do the leaders of our Board have other ideas that don’t involve Yale? 

It seems clear that they want more jobs at Yale and more free parking lots and free shuttles so that their constituents can get to them easily. But I’m not sure how that helps the rest of the city, particularly lower-income workers.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 31, 2012  2:29pm

please my area is on that yale list….NOTHING! 2 people is all we got over all the years. And so many homes are up for sale here all the time. And we are right in the park?

We to want to see the bus extended to our area we do have yale workers and students in my area that really want it here. We called about it over the years with no luck. But strangely I see the yale shuttle going up and down state. I wonder if that bus can simple just make stops here.

and Wingate has it right…I think he is actually understating it and being kind when it come to town gown

posted by: Ladybug on July 31, 2012  2:32pm

There r 2 GLARING misconceptions in this piece in my humble opinion:
1. Elm-seed Enter. Fund is a STUDENT run enterprise overseen by a Board true but It is not an intelligent, responsible or thoughtful endeavor. When many many people in the community tell u to avoid Elm-seed like the plaque including a Senior V.P. of a bank, they mean avoid Elm-seed like the plaque..What looks good on paper often is worth only that!
2. Yale entered into an agreement with the city in return for the cancer center to provide I believe @ 350 - 500 jobs to New Haven residents..Those jobs have not been filled by residents and the application process was biased in its requirement of online ONLY application and English only process! I understand this is YNHH..but Yale and relations none the less.
One of the best ways Yale could improve its image is to start telling the truth - the whole truth, not the spin truth but the real stuff.
Does Yale has tax exempt status?? If so, why???

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 31, 2012  3:46pm

People wake up.You are bieng sold Snake-Oil and Three Card Monte by yale and the Politicians.Claims the pipeline created jobs are false.The only pipeline will be standing on the unemployment lines and the line to get on I95 to get out of this state.There are no Jobs in this state.In fact look around and see how many homes are for sale and how many people are buying them.People are leaving this state.

Moving out | Connecticut emigration fueling surge in business for movers.

http://hbweb.sx2.atl.publicus.com/article/20120220/PRINTEDITION/302209999

posted by: Sammy on July 31, 2012  4:16pm

I really don’t understand this belief that just because you happen to live near Yale, you deserve to become the chief of surgery at the hospital even if you can’t fill out an application in English and never spent a day in college.

Yale is a globally important university. Where do you guys get the idea that someone who never bothered to finish high school should be handed a job there when there are lots of qualified and talented people willing to move across the country to work here?

Yale has no responsibility to provide jobs to people who never took responsibility for their education, employment, finances, and housing. Same goes for the public transit; why should Yale’s shuttle substitute for an adequate public transit system in this town?

Next thing you know, you guys are going to be demanding that Yale fix up every busted window and littered park in the city.

If the transit system is under-funded, let’s fund it. But you guys want to have the transit, have the jobs, have the housing boom, have the public infrastructure, and not pay for any of it.

posted by: downtown dweller on July 31, 2012  4:20pm

Sometimes you wonder whether the aldermen actually think before speaking.

Making the Yale shuttle open to all would create more problems than it solves. First, the shuttle only covers a small area of New Haven: the campus and part of East Rock, in essence. If transport in these areas was free to everyone, which is what Jessica Holmes wants, then these areas would become even more privileged. But for the most part, the residents of these areas don’t need more investment in transport: most people in East Rock are just fine. (Or, at least, much better off than the rest of the town.) The parts of New Haven that need investment in transport are those not served by the Yale shuttle.

Second, making the Yale shuttle free to all risks destroying the bus routes that overlap with the shuttle routes. Again, what is needed is good public transport around the whole town, not just good transport in the areas near the Yale campus.

Perhaps Holmes thinks that Yale can expand the shuttle routes to cover other areas. If so, then her plan is basically for a new tax on Yale, whereby Yale is used to fund services for the rest of the town. This is unsustainable. The aldermen turned down a chance to get state and federal money to study the installation of a streetcar, which WOULD have helped the town. If Holmes cares about transport, where was she on that?

posted by: Optional on July 31, 2012  4:25pm

Anon, 10% of anything is significant, especially when you take into account that Yale is the largest employer in the city.

Look, I’m no fan of Yale or it’s teaming masses of undergraduates who pour into the city every year and make getting around hellish for the rest of us, but I’d welcome greater access to and cooperation with the university. I’ve seen way too many Yale shuttle buses idling with no one on them, biodiesel or not that’s a terrible waste. Approaching that issue alone would make the conversation worth considering.

Yale has done it’s share of shady things to New Haven, walling up the old campus and making any resident feel like crossing behind Ezra Stiles may be subject to a random strip search. Creating more distrust between Yalies and Townies by destroying Broadway (and many/all of the businesses where the two would meet and form lasting bonds) and remaking damn near everything over to be “at Yale” in their own image.

But we have to coexist, Yale and New Haven are inexorably linked, always have been.

I’d have added to that list more access to campus resources for the community, I remember being able to access Sterling and Cross Campus libraries as a non-student and a community college student. Now there is little to no access to anyone outside the university.

I understand that crime is an issue, I feel that a person who is affiliated with Yale is worth no more or less than a member of my family (except of course to me that is) but we have to start somewhere.

Any conversation is a good conversation as long as both sides get to talk.

posted by: robn on July 31, 2012  4:51pm

but 3/5,

When I was complaining about high taxes everyone told me pipe down and that people would be lining up to buy my incredibly valuable house.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 31, 2012  5:34pm

That food looks yummy!

Anywho this song keeps getting stuck in my head when reading this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slChilGsRiU

posted by: unionsteward35 on July 31, 2012  6:13pm

The BOA is not really for the people who put them in office. listen to their ideas, all focused around a yale agenda. Like many of you have commented already what does that do for other city residents? Yale run this town with a union or not, they have the money, power and respect go figure.

posted by: Jones Gore on August 1, 2012  4:21am

Has anyone noticed that Yale doesn’t owe New Haven anything?

What is this Town/Gown divide..some new Jim Crow. Com’ on aldermen and alderwomen..do some real work and stop this non-sense.

Yes there is a Town/Gown divide and it should be. The Yale students are here to get an education not mingle with the natives.

Why should Yale expose their bread and butter to New Haven beyond what is natural. I can see it know…pan handlers riding the Yale shuttle just to beg. And pan handlers come in all shapes, colors and genders if you have not noticed. Well maybe the aldermen and alderwoman have not noticed. 

I mean can you imagine..the same type rude behavior you find on the city bus will now be on the Yale Shuttle. The Westville Alderwoman that suggest it was thing how nice it would be she could it. Typical a poly.

No to the Yale Shuttle Ride…stay on the city bus.

posted by: streever on August 1, 2012  7:26am

I think this is part of the problem in New Haven.

The presence of Yale provides 50 million per year in cash.

Yale provides 4,000 jobs and 325 million per year in salaries.

Anonymous is right. New Haven does not have the infrastructure we need to take advantage of the benefit of Yale.

We have an archaic transit system that encourages suburban flight.
We don’t invest in our neighborhoods as a city.

Instead, we demand Yale does it.

Yale is already providing 50 million per year. If that money isn’t being spent to provide incredible transit, safe neighborhoods, and stability, we need to elect new political leaders.

We need political leaders who focus on New Haven improving.

Yale moved here. Universities do move, and some would suggest that Yale is in process to do so, as they continue to expand the West Haven campus.

Perhaps we need to start improving our city, instead of floating pie in the sky ideas and chasing after big numbers.

New Haven has a wonderful bus system, which suffers a number of problems. When do we start demanding that New Haven improve bus service?

Our aldermen are in a position to improve bus service. We have a contract and we pay for the bus service. Can we please put half the effort we put into debating Yale into bus service improvements?

posted by: Jacques Strap on August 1, 2012  7:29am

@ Sammy—I agree with you, but we live in the era of entitlement.

@ Wingate—Just because Yale isn’t handing out freebies to those who believe they are entitled doesn’t mean there is a divide.  In fact, your claim supports Sammy’s sentiment: people who failed to take responsibility for their own education are now seeking handouts.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on August 1, 2012  7:44am

Talk to the people of West Haven.Yale along with UNH are now taking over West Haven.

posted by: streever on August 1, 2012  8:08am

To avoid confusion: Yes, the bus system is state managed. Tell the state that it isn’t living up to expectations. Articulate where the bus service is not good enough, what improvements are needed, and where. If you can’t get a better system from the state, ditch it. Create a New Haven transit company.

posted by: Bruce on August 1, 2012  9:33am

Let’s not forget that the Yale shuttle system WAS open to the public for many years?  I don’t recall any problems and I always wondered why they backed off on that policy.

The parallel shuttle and bus systems has always irritated me.  It seems ridiculously inefficient to have two independent bus companies serving the exact same neighborhoods.  On one hand, CT transit apparently doesn’t run enough routes to conveniently handle student commutes.  I don’t really blame Yale for taking matters into their own hands.  But now that the shuttle system exists, it has sucked the life out of the public system in the city’s most densely populated areas.  It seems that maybe Yale could do a better job of lobbying for better state transit service for their key areas—and pare down the shuttle service to just run a few routes late at night.

posted by: anonymous on August 1, 2012  9:43am

Downtown: Holmes and a few other alders broke with Aldermanic Leadership and voted for the Federally-funded proposal to design improved bus and transit service for our city, a proposal which would have included designs that Streever suggests such as transit companies.

Despite overwhelming citizen testimony in favor, and the fact the previous Board’s concerns (about the match) had been addressed, the other Alders voted against the interests of lower income residents who don’t work at Yale, and turned it down.

Worst decision in the history of New Haven - and it’s clear from those in City Hall attending all of the meetings that Perez and Marchand were the key drivers of it.

posted by: darnell on August 1, 2012  10:04am

Wait a minute. Are we asking Yale to increase it’s hiring of New Haven residents? Before we do that, perhaps we should increase the City of New Haven hire rate, which currently stands at a little over 30%.

posted by: streever on August 1, 2012  10:37am

@Darnell
Lets first build an infrastructure to keep people here—to make them WANT to live here ;-)—before we try to force anyone to hire locally.

Perhaps it is time to go back to the idea that advocates and a city hall staffer proposed years ago—spider-web like transit system with satellite lots and dedicated bus service to high-traffic areas.

posted by: darnell on August 1, 2012  10:58am

@Streever:

I’m not suggesting that we entice folks to come to New Haven so that we can hire them, I am suggesting that we hire the folks already here and committed to the city.

posted by: streever on August 1, 2012  11:47am

@Darnell
I hear you. It is just that we already do that, and they move after they get their jobs, as Anonymous posted earlier. I can’t tell you how many police officers and fire fighters I’ve met who used to live here, got hired, got a good salary, and moved out.

I don’t blame them for moving out—not bashing them at all. Just saying, for any strategy to work long-term, we have to make New Haven a viable place to live, raise a family, and get around.

posted by: anonymous on August 1, 2012  12:52pm

Darnell, residency and homebuyer incentives would be a great start, and are widely used elsewhere. I don’t have room here to get into all the specifics about which incentives programs work and which don’t. There are at least 10 other things a city can do. Hiring practices is just one.

The city seems to lack leadership around this issue, and the PAC- and 501c4- controlled candidates who are now coming into office here seem more concerned about free parking and Yale than about making our neighborhoods good places to live again.

posted by: Anstress Farwell on August 1, 2012  2:26pm

In many college towns, the universities negotiate with the public transit agencies to create universal transit passes for students and employees. A flat rate is paid to the transit agency, and members of the university community are given passes, or in some cases, buses are equipped to accept a swipe of the person’s university ID. Universities save parking costs. Students and employees save on transportation costs. The general public benefits from the university’s investment and increased ridership, which supports route and schedule expansion. See: Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education:
http://www.aashe.org/resources/campus-universal-transit-passes
http://parking.duke.edu/buses_vans/gopass/index.php

posted by: accountability on August 1, 2012  3:19pm

Off we go. The city’s largest private sector employer makes a commitment to increase local hiring, asks the city to work with it to ensure that applicants are job ready, and agrees with its unions that graduates of the city’s new program will have enforceable bidding rights to those jobs. And that won’t have an impact on unemployment because of course, people getting jobs just doesn’t reduce unemployment.

The city’s largest employer has made a formal commitment to increasing employment from New Haven and has built systems of accountability for that commitment into its collective bargaining agreements with its unions. We all need to hold Yale and its unions accountable to that commitment.

But here’s the real question. Now that Yale University is in, what are the rest of the city’s leading employers—Yale New Haven Hospital, ATT, etc—willing to do to reduce un- and underemployment?

posted by: anonymous on August 1, 2012  4:10pm

“And that won’t have an impact on unemployment because of course, people getting jobs just doesn’t reduce unemployment.”

I assume this is a joke?

A couple questions:

What happens when the person getting a job moves to the suburbs (or to a wealthier neighborhood, like East Rock), as most other residents with those pay levels do?  Someone living in the suburbs who loses their job elsewhere takes their place. Result = no change in unemployment in New Haven.  In fact, unemployment may get worse if other groups of people perceive, as a result of policies geared towards one group (e.g. Yale unions), that they are excluded from the labor market.

Also, what constitutes a meaningful change in unemployment? What about the fact that unemployment is essentially 0% in some neighborhoods, but 50% in others?

With regards to other employers, and particularly the policies of state and city government, then I agree that we may need some broader thinking if we want a “jobs pipeline” to result in any meaningful progress in New Haven.  For example, we could stop hiring people at $200K/year salary and benefit levels, and instead pour that money into creating entry level, neighborhood-based job opportunities for the young adults, who are many times more likely to be unemployed than rank-and-file union members.

posted by: downtown dweller on August 1, 2012  7:12pm

@anonymous:

Thanks for pointing out that Holmes did support the streetcar plan. This is to her credit. Still, it’s depressing that she wants Yale to be forced to spend money to sort out the town’s transport mess.

posted by: DingDong on August 1, 2012  8:39pm

No need to ditch CT Transit.  Wallingford just proactively commissioned a study on how to improve bus service and now are petitioning CT Transit for changes. 

Newspaper story here: http://www.myrecordjournal.com/wallingford/article_37f1cacc-d9fa-11e1-a88b-001a4bcf887a.html 

Small changes might be enough.  By the way, does New Haven pay anything for the bus service? (Wallingford apparently does).

Ideally, the best solution would be for Yale to pay “X” dollars to CT Transit every year and then CT Transit might reconfigure the routes and let a Yale ID work as a transit pass.  This is how it works in California with Berkeley, for example.

posted by: Ali on August 2, 2012  8:13am

@Sammy - exactly.

@Anonymous:
“What happens when the person getting a job moves to the suburbs (or to a wealthier neighborhood, like East Rock), as most other residents with those pay levels do?”

What kind of pay levels do you think these are?  Are they better than your average job?  Absolutely, but we’re talking entry level Union jobs which from experience I can tell you - don’t pay near enough to buy a house in East Rock or the suburbs.

posted by: streever on August 2, 2012  8:32am

@Ali
One can definitely get more for their money in Hamden—either a 100k condo (which is within the means of a plumber/electrician/contractor at yale, starting salaray over 54k/year), or a 2 family income including custodial workers (now over 35k/year).

Anonymous is also referring to NHPD and NHFD employees, who definitely do make very competitive salaries and move to places like Wallingford, Guilford, Madison, etc.

Anonymous isn’t saying Yale/New Haven shouldn’t be hiring locally—just saying we need to really work on improving our city to retain people as they get raises, promotions, and better salaries. We don’t want to be the city that sends people away.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on August 2, 2012  9:54am

Jessica Homes,
Best idea ever!

posted by: SteveOnAnderson on August 3, 2012  10:11am

Anstress Farwell, Bruce, & others have hit the nail on the head. And, whether or not it is a perfect proposal (or reported as it was laid out), kudos to Alderwoman Holmes for at least bringing up the Yale Shuttle service.

I am not for making the Yale Shuttle service accessible to all, but figuring out a way for the type of program Anstress Farwell described. If Yale, the city, and the state worked out the kind of deal that has been worked out by other universities across the country, we could have a much better public transit service, with Yale students’ money going to that citywide public service, rather than Yale’s private line.

Behind this is also the fact that the Yale Shuttle draws boundaries in the city that exacerbate disparity in the city. How many homes in the Homebuyer’s Program lie outside of the Shuttle Area? Cedarhillwoman, you are absolutely correct to point out the fact that your area is underserved, and you should also recognize that it is out of the Yale Shuttle Area.

I hope people continue to work with and push the BoA to try to stand up for more than just Yale workers. While it is very important to deal with the largest and most powerful employer in town, the answer cannot be to simply make Yale bigger and more powerful. We have to find ways to build non-Yale connections in the city, and I think transportation reform could be one way of making that happen.

posted by: SteveOnAnderson on August 3, 2012  10:21am

Just to point out another specific program of a university that works with the public transportation city, check out the University of Washington’s U-Pass, which I used & enjoyed for years.
http://www.washington.edu/facilities/transportation/commuterservices/u-pass

Anstress Farwell has linked several more through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education website. It would be great to see the city and Yale discuss the possibility of collaboration.