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New York City has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the United States. Moreover, while poverty and unemployment rates are declining across the city, they remain high in predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods, especially those in Brooklyn and The Bronx. These communities are also suffering from decades of divestment in public goods and services, such as education, housing, and transportation. While New York communities are struggling to make ends meet, City Hall continues to give away billions of taxpayer dollars to wealthy corporations, in the name of “economic development” and job creation — with little to no guarantees that the communities who need these jobs the most will actually receive them.  

Through his $1.4 billion New York Works plan, Mayor de Blasio will incentivize private companies in the e-commerce, STEM, and tech sectors to create jobs in New York City. Yet, jobs in these sectors are largely inaccessible to the people who need them most. New Yorkers in need of high-quality, long-term employment — including those working in low-wage fields, receiving public assistance, or the unemployed — need levels of training to access those jobs that tech companies are not willing to provide. So these ready, willing, and able workers are often excluded from employment opportunities at these firms. When it comes to economic inequality, this tech-centric strategy will not address the “Tale of Two Cities.” What we’re seeing instead, is a “gentrification of the labor market”, in which the jobs created through public investment go to predominantly young, white professionals.

For more information, please contact Malika Conner at malika@alignny.org or Zachary Lerner at zlerner@nycommunities.org

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