Yale Promises To Hire More New Haveners

Travis Carbonella PhotoMacMillan PhotoStreet pressure on New Haven’s largest employer paid off, as Yale announced Friday it will hire 1,000 New Haveners over the next three years — and not just from the Prospect Hill neighborhood.

The university made the promise in a release issued in conjunction with two entities with whom it negotiated the deal: UNITE HERE’s Yale locals and New Haven Works, the training and referral agency started by Yale and its unions and political leaders in 2013 for the city’s under- and unemployed.

Under the agreement announced Friday, Yale made a commitment that at least 500 of those new 1,000 hires for permanent full-time positions will come from the Hill, Dwight, West River, West Rock, Newhallville, Dixwell and Fair Haven neighborhoods, according to New Haven Works Executive Director Melissa Mason. Yale has never made a targeted neighborhood-level hiring promise like this before.

Asked about how the agreement will be enforced, Mason said Friday that the two sides agreed to issue joint status reports “on an ongoing basis.”

“We’re been working with Yale HR [human resources] since New Haven Works has been open,” Mason said. “New Haven Works will work with Yale HR day in and day out to make this [new promise] happen. It’s going to be a lot of work. We’re going to continue to roll up our sleeves to do that work.”

“This is definitely a high point in regard to” Yale’s relationship to the city, said Local 35 UNITE HERE rsident Bob Proto. “The most important thing [now] is the follow-through,” giving New Haveners any extra help they need to qualify for job openings.

Aliyya Swaby PhotoBoard of Alders President Tyisha Walker, a Yale employee and UNITE HERE steward, told the Independent she hopes this “great agreement” sets a precedent for other New Haven employers.

“They stepped up to the plate to help us address the crisis in neighborhoods of need,” Walker said of Yale. “I hope that other employers will see what Yale has done and follow their lead.”

UNITE HERE and an affiliated community activist group, New Haven Rising, had called for Yale to hire more local people to address a New Haven “jobs crisis.” Yale responded earlier this year by promising to hire 500 New Haveners over two years. The groups dismissed that promise as insufficient for two reasons: They argued Yale probably would have hired that number anyway, and Yale wouldn’t agree to target that hiring to lower-income neighborhoods where unemployment is far higher than the 9 percent citywide average. (An estimated 18 percent of black New Haveners and more than 20 percent of Latino New Haveners are unemployed. The neighborhoods covered by Friday’s deal have the highest concentrations of black and Latino populations in New Haven.) Yale made that promise on the eve of a planned protest march; that march proceeded.

The scenario changed this time around.

New Haven Rising planned a protest march with mass civil-disobedience arrests in Yale’s upscale Broadway shopping district on Saturday, during prime holiday shopping hours, to call for the greater, targeted local hiring commitment.

Days before that march, Yale and the negotiators suddenly made major progress toward the new promise. At the last minute, protest organizers — with 134 marchers ready to get arrested for the broader cause — switched the target and location of the march instead to Yale-New Haven Hospital, freeing Broadway for unimpeded purchases of imported cosmetics and high-end handbags and clothing. Click on the above video to watch coverage of the march by local videographer Travis Carbonella.

“We view the employment of New Haven residents to be an integral part of our efforts to accelerate the economic development of the city,” the release quoted Yale President Peter Salovey saying.

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posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on December 18, 2015  1:39pm

Here’s the problem with this plan:

Once people get jobs with Yale, they will move out of those neighborhoods to somewhere more desirable (probably outside of New Haven if possible).  What then?  Does that get counted against Yale?  Do those people have to stay in the neighborhood or they lose their job?  What if the center of New Haven gentrifies?  Will this agreement be amended so that Yale needs to hire people from wherever the target demographic moves?  I’m sure if the board of Alders got out of the way and let developers fill the city up with new modern, market rate housing, Yale could easily hire 100% of their employees from within the city.

I’m surprised that in a city so far off the left side of the scale the politicians still feel they need to speak in code.

posted by: Marion on December 18, 2015  1:49pm

Promising to hire at least 50% from these named city neighborhoods is a pretty transparent proxy for racial quotas.  If a shoreline area employer promised 50% of all new jobs will go to Madison residents, I could just see the disparate impact lawsuit, and the press conference from the NAACP. While the city and these local groups understandably want jobs, last I heard, our state and federal laws require employers to offer EQUAL opportunity to all who apply, and are supposed to hire based on qualifications, not race, minority status, or thinly veiled proxy for race, which committing to give preference to residents of “Dwight” or the “Hill” surely is.  So how does what Yale is promising to do square with those laws?

posted by: DrFeelgood on December 18, 2015  1:51pm

soooooooo….if there aren’t enough qualified individuals in that area they should just hire them anyways based upon where they live??

posted by: Noteworthy on December 18, 2015  1:58pm

Does it ever strike people the reason why so many are unemployed in these neighborhoods? It’s because Yale is evil and all these people are just denied work? I don’t believe it. As for the civil disobedience - they wouldn’t have blocked my access to where I want to go nor would they have intimidated me from going about my business.

posted by: Hill South on December 18, 2015  2:06pm

This agreement sounds all well and good. But lets not forget that there are New Haven residents who are or were Yale employees who have been laid off and have not yet secured permanent employment with Yale. And many of us live in those same neighborhoods that Yale and the Unions have agreed to hire from. Some seem to believe that the current population of Yale employees is made up of doctors, researchers and administrators who come mostly from the suburbs (especially when discussions of parking on city streets come up ... like we commute from Branford and Clinton and Westport). Many of Yale employees are clerical and technical, janitorial and facility service employees who live in Newhallville, Fair Haven, West Rock and the Hill. Departments in the University are laying off people, some departments are ‘centralizing’ the work, while others are just not replacing those who leave/retire and just pile the work on the current overworked staff. So congratulations to Unite Here and New Haven Rising on this effort. But don’t forget about us 5-10-20 year employees who currently pay union dues and are hoping to stay employed.

posted by: HewNaven on December 18, 2015  2:15pm

Under the agreement announced Friday, Yale made a commitment that at least 500 of those new 1,000 hires will come from the Hill, Dwight, West River, West Rock, Newhallville, Dixwell and Fair Haven neighborhoods,

This is great, but the question has always been the following:

Do the people who land those coveted Yale jobs in Locals 34, 35 actually stay in their respective neighborhoods? We really need to see some data on this. If they don’t stay then the program is meaningless, though done with good intention.

posted by: webblog on December 18, 2015  2:31pm

@Wikus, SwampfoxII, DrFeelgood

On June 5, 2013, as you will note in the following NHI story, with comments, all Governor and local politicians stood shoulder to shoulder in hailing the opening of New Haven works with its partnership with Yale’s commitment to hire New Haven residents.

http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/new_haven_works_and_so_does_osikhena/

Now, some two and 1/2 years later Yale announced that it has set a target goal to hire people outside of the prospect-Hill area.
“Yale announced Friday it will hire 1,000 New Heavener’s over the next three years — and not just from the Prospect Hill neighborhood.”

That’s 333 hires per yr. including prospect- Hill and East Rock, according to my math.

So while neighborhood residence is a goal, one could not call it racial preference without admitting that the same racial preference has existed @ Yale in college admittance and employment for centuries.

The key finding will be is Yale’s planned expansion large enough to maintain its present employment level and increase it by 1,000 in three years. If Yale does that..good..But don’t look for more voluntary pilot contribution to the city government, or any increase in Yale’s poultry $2.7M contribution for fire protection, both have remained constant since 1989.

posted by: darnell on December 18, 2015  3:15pm

I don’t think that this proposal is based on race, but more on income. Lower income folks live in those neighborhoods, where more lower cost rental is available, it just so happens that a majority of them are Black or Latino.

Also, I don’t think the proposal is to “force” those new hires to remain in those neighborhoods. Sure, some will upwardly move, seeking more stable housing in other neighborhoods, and that is a good thing. Those that move will make lower cost housing available for the next batch of Yale hires. An endless cycle of life.

If folks who are not normally sought out for employment are given an opportunity, why would anyone be opposed to that?

posted by: Adelaide on December 18, 2015  4:00pm

@ Noteworthy, I would have liked to see that. There were @ a dozen cops here, a HUGE police van blocking traffic off, several school buses and 10 cop cars..
But hey, you keep with that big and bad baloney.

I am glad to read there with be monitoring of this “deal”. Yale is notorious for not keeping their hiring peomises. In addition, I hope these jobs were be full time, benefit jobs that have change for propmotion. Not just floor moppers and dish washers!

As far as employees getting hired and then move out of these neighborhoods, there is absolutely NO evidence of that EVER happening..Stop with the wild what if comments. You’re embarassing yourself. If you really want to do the What If then lets go all the way…what if the sky opens up and swallows us all whole!! What if the ground under YNHH suddenly sinks to China!!!! See, you’re an embarassment.

posted by: Perspective on December 18, 2015  4:23pm

If this effort is not about race then why even mention the % of black and latino unemployment numbers:
“They argued Yale probably would have hired that number anyway, and Yale wouldn’t agree to target that hiring to lower-income neighborhoods where unemployment is far higher than the 9 percent citywide average. (An estimated 18 percent of black New Haveners and more than 20 percent of Latino New Haveners are unemployed. The neighborhoods covered by Friday’s deal have the highest concentrations of black and Latino populations in New Haven.)”

Why not simply state Yale is targeting the neighborhoods with the highest percentage of unemployment and leave it at that?

posted by: ElmCityVoice on December 18, 2015  4:57pm

Congratulations to the many women and men and girls and boys who worked hard to create change with their time, bodies and spirits. Civil disobedience is still a powerful game changer. To all the haters, nobody cares. To all the participants who delivered this holiday gift to our community, thank you!

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on December 18, 2015  5:48pm

“So while neighborhood residence is a goal, one could not call it racial preference…”

I assume you are making this statement because you have access to the numbers on the racial demographics of Yale’s employees.  Please, share with the class.

Darnell, when those people’s income increases they will move somewhere else and the neighborhood will remain just as poor. 

Adelaide, I’ve known so many people who have “escaped” New Haven once they had the financial means.  Hopefully Yale and the Union will keep track of this information, but even if they do I highly doubt they will share it unless the data supports the narrative of this political stunt.

posted by: Noteworthy on December 18, 2015  6:10pm

Adelaide- why exactly should my life be adversely affected by your cause celeb of the week? I don’t make hiring decisions at Yale. If I lived in any of these neighborhoods and I did when I was younger,  I’d never even consider bullying the public or threatening businesses that have not done anything to hurt me.  I’d go find a job. That this is the only way to get a job is patently absurd, offensive and unnecessary.

posted by: LorcaNotOrca on December 18, 2015  7:43pm

But what constitutes Yale “seeking people out” from those neighborhoods?

It would be great if the jobs offered are more than just floor moppers and dishwashers, but keep in mind the idea is still to hire qualified applicants. No one’s entitled to a better job if they don’t have the skills to do it. And New Haven has so many outlets where people can learn and train. Gateway was only blocks away from this protest.

I hate to sound cold. But if the applicants for the better jobs aren’t there from those neighborhoods, they aren’t there. People have to want to do better, start shaping themselves up, go to school, get their sh*t together, and by then you won’t need to bother Yale for a job.  Yale is already the largest employer in New Haven, and hires a ton of New Haveners.  I have a hard time believing everyone from those neighborhoods have been applying and getting turned down.

It’s vital for our local economy that more New Haveners are hired, and it would be entirely beneficial if more people from those neighborhoods were hired. But there’s only so much Yale can do. It’s not exactly a revelation that you have to like, be qualified to get a job. That’s life.

High schools have to teach students how it goes. And the students have to want to learn, otherwise it won’t matter.

And do any of them realize they could go learn a skilled trade and land a great job with benefits almost immediately!?

posted by: KateW on December 18, 2015  8:21pm

I resent the tone and assumptions in most of these comments regarding my neighborhood - Dwight - where I have been a homeowner for over 36 years.  Dwight is a fantastic place to live and all you idiots that think that people automatically would want to flock to the suburbs ala white flight of the 1960’s, you are just wrong. I grew up in a lovely part of Spring Glen next door to the High Lane Club.  My father was a Yale professor.  When I decided to move back to New Haven in 1979, I jumped at the chance to be able to get a house in the Dwight neighborhood - precisely because I did not want my kids to grow up around a bunch of elitist losers and milk toast conservatives who were also racist like many I knew.  I wanted my kids to grow up around regular working class people and if that was primarily black people well good because I wanted them to be able to relate.  I have lived here in peace and harmony with my neighbors.  My son was the only white kid at Hillhouse in the mid nineties.  He was accepted at University of Pennsylvania and given the freshman Scholar Athlete award and went on to play two varsity sports that won the Ivy League Championship.  My daughter attended an elite private college and got masters degree from Univ. of Maryland.  They are close friends with the kids they grew up with and see on holidays now they are in their 30’s.  This is a cosmopolitan neighborhood very diverse and historical and fun to live in.

Incidentally East Rock area “the so called desirable part of town”, has way more car break ins, muggings and theft than Dwight.  In fact, I’ve lived here, raised kids, walked around -of course this is the best part - easily walking to all the shops and restaurants. and have enjoyed the peace of my neighborhood with rare exception over a very long period of time.  Of course Yale should hire core city residents for many reasons!  You can have the suburbs - stop bad mouthing city neighborhoods.  Yale & every big business should prefer NH folk.

posted by: BalancedJustice on December 18, 2015  8:55pm

This agreement is GOOD to see. Hope it will be a genuine and sustained effort.  There are many people in the specified areas who are not highly skilled or educated beyond high school.  One has to assume that Yale will also be providing basic job training and education / literacy classes that will help people to be properly equipped to both maintain and advance in their jobs.  Yale has benefited so much from it tax-free position and all the other benefits it has derived from “owning” New Haven, this is a reinvestment that is due.  Yale has enough people retiring over the next three years to have the required number of openings in non-management areas for 500.

Who is going to hold Yale University accountable for its strong discrimination policy against management level blacks? Assuming that 500 will be management level jobs, how will they be monitored? Yale makes certain to eliminate some jobs held by blacks shortly before time for them to become vested (so they will have a pension); or just before they reach a certain level of income that will boost Social Security payments.  Yale University’s administration is a cold, calculating, callous place for people of color to work in the long term.

Yale University (as an employer) is a CRUEL place for black people who are well educated, with few exceptions: Those who are historically connected; those who are approvingly beholden, and those who have been chosen to represent the administration.  Those who are making this “deal with Yale” should be prepared and be vigilant.  Sadly, Yale cannot be trusted when it comes to a commitment to making the lives of black people, and black New Haveners in particular, better.

posted by: Honest in New Haven on December 19, 2015  7:25am

So is the role of New Haven Works simply to extort jobs out of Yale?  Who else do they work with?  How many jobs did NHW get for New Haveners at the new Jordan’s Furniture?  In the end it doesn’t really matter if 1,000 people get hired at Yale.  The bottom line is what kinds of jobs these folks get hired into, how many of them remain employed, full-time, with benefits that they can support a family with.

posted by: NewHaven06513 on December 19, 2015  8:35am

You want a job… Get an education, skill and apply. Don’t expected a job because you want one and have done nothing to deserve one. Sorry, but most of us work hard to get where we are not protest our ignorance.  What a joke, and shame on Yale for condoning this nonsense! They shut down a street next to a hospital… People could have had an emergency and not gotten in.

posted by: westville man on December 19, 2015  11:11am

Kate W-  Way to go! The usual knee-jerk response of “qualifications” belies the real discrimination that goes on every day for New Haven residents trying to get jobs. I see it every day and have seen it in my own company over the years. It is time that Yale and other corporations doing business in New Haven make it a priority to hire New Haven residents. And for those of you who are worried about so-called racial quotas- how come you aren’t complaining about all of the white faces in Madison, Guilford, East Haven, etc. who have all the jobs in town hall, police and fire departments, as well as the educational system – teachers and administrators included? I guess all those folks must be qualified and not related to someone who knew them and took “affirmative action” to get them hired.

posted by: westville man on December 19, 2015  11:12am

Ps-  to Honest in New Haven-  It matters greatly to the 1,000 people who get hired in those jobs as well as their families.

posted by: tmctague on December 19, 2015  1:59pm

As a teacher in New Haven, this reminds me of the “College Acceptance” conversation, which is different from the “College Graduation” conversation.  Hiring 1,000 people is great - but hopefully hiring 1,000 people is just the starting point in a long effort to sustain hiring and employment practices that become mutually beneficial over time.  Could be good; Yale will probably mess it up if left unchecked/unaccountable.

posted by: anonymous on December 20, 2015  4:05pm

“And for those of you who are worried about so-called racial quotas- how come you aren’t complaining about all of the white faces in Madison, Guilford, East Haven, etc. who have all the jobs in town hall, police and fire departments, as well as the educational system – teachers and administrators included? I guess all those folks must be qualified and not related to someone who knew them and took “affirmative action” to get them hired.”

Exactly. 

By the way, City Hall should be the first place to report on who it is hiring from the high-unemployment neighborhoods in New Haven. The City of New Haven’s workers are much less likely to be living in New Haven than Yale’s are. 

Maybe NHR should shut down Church Street next.

posted by: NHGreen02 on December 20, 2015  9:14pm

Let’s also not forget that three-quarters of the public teachers in this city do not live in the city. Why aren’t these people picketing the New Haven Schools office on Meadow Street?