NEW HAVEN–Residents of New Haven are speaking out about a lack of good jobs.
The New Haven Rising, a city-wide grassroots organization, held a rally on Thursday evening calling on large employers to hire local residents.
Specifically, the march was to get good, well-paying jobs for those from poorer neighborhoods in the city.
According to a study conducted by DataHaven, only 2,000 of the 47,000 living wage jobs in New Haven are held by residents in neighborhoods of need such Dixwell, Fair Haven and the Hill. New Haven Rising also claims that the unemployment rate among residents who are not white is significantly higher.
New Haven Rising said that more than 1,000 turned out to march, but did not have a specific number available.
“Everyone agrees there’s a jobs crisis,” said Veranda Scott Marks, the leader of New Haven Rising. “Today, let’s be clear about who it impacts: people of color. Unemployment is disproportionately high in neighborhoods of color, so to end the jobs crisis employers must hire more people, specifically from these neighborhoods.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the vice president of Yale, Michael Peel, sent a letter to Mayor Toni Harp to tell her that the university plans to hire 500 New Haven residents in the next 24 months. He also said the school hopes to make as many of those hires as possible through New Haven Works, a city program designed to reduce unemployment.
This led to the hashtag associated with the rally: #HireThe500Now.
Here is a statement on Yale’s promise from Mayor Toni Harp:
Yale’s pledge to hire 500 more New Haven residents over the next two years is a most welcome commitment from what is already the city’s largest employer to continue collaborating with the city to create local jobs for local workers. New Haven will thrive and continue making public safety advances to the extent its employable residents can work and earn a living wage.
Yale said that of the 500 workers it plans to hire, 100 will be for construction jobs, and that it will also encourage any vendors and external suppliers that the school works with to hire local residents whenever possible.
At the rally, Mayor Harp spoke, and she said to the crowd, “We must act now. “The employers must do more: Yale University, the Yale-New Haven Hospital and other large-scale employers–including the city of New Haven–must respond to the jobs crisis with more than incremental solutions.”
The Central Labor Council and members from the religious community joined New Haven Rising to organize the March for Good Jobs.