City Council candidate Erik Bottcher on Wednesday announced his proposal to create a jobs network for District 3 to help match local job seekers with local employment opportunities, and ultimately aid in the city’s economic recovery.
The West Side Employment Network would focus on residents of public housing and those living near or below the poverty line, according to the proposal. The plan comes as New Yorkers continue to suffer from job losses due to the pandemic. The city’s unemployment rate increased from 3.8 percent in January 2020 to 13.1 percent in January 2021, according to the state Labor Department. In Manhattan, the unemployment rate increased from 3.4 percent to 10.1 percent in the same time period.
“I’m running for City Council to ensure an economic recovery that benefits all New Yorkers, not just those who were doing well before,” Bottcher said in a statement. Bottcher is running to replace City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, for whom Bottcher served as chief of staff for five years. With Johnson term-limited, and now running for comptroller, Bottcher is seeking to be the next member to represent District 3, which consists of Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village and part of SoHo.
The proposal would include both a “resume bank” and a “jobs bank.” The network would develop a list of District 3 residents looking for work that would be an asset to local employers with job openings. The network would keep these resumes on file. Similarly, the “jobs bank” would create a portal of local jobs that would be easily accessible for those seeking work. The proposal points to apprenticeships and career opportunities via unions and construction trades as an example of work that could be accessed through the network. By making these two groups of job seekers and employers more accessible to one another, the campaign says it will help companies meet local hiring goals.
“Recent years have seen the arrival of many large employers to our district, including Google, IAC and Coach, with more on the way, such as Disney,” said Bottcher. “There are hundreds of smaller employers in our community across many industries. We need growth and economic development, but we must ensure that growth benefits those who are struggling economically.”
Interview & Skills Training
In addition to the local listings, the network would aim to provide local residents with access to resume writing assistance, interview preparation, skills training, and a pre-interview assessment to help job seekers to identify opportunities best suited for them. The proposal listed the organization Nontraditional Employment for Women as a potential partner in this effort, but noted that the network would also require staffing and resources in order to be successful.
Bottcher’s campaign said such a model has been successful elsewhere, including the Lower East Side Employment Network, which partners with Community Board 3 in matching employers with job seekers. On the West Side, the campaign lists the Husdson Guild as a possible administrator of the program. The Guild is a nonprofit located at both the NYCHA Elliot-Chelsea Houses and Fulton Houses and supported by a coalition of public and private partners
Both Darlene Waters, president of the NYCHA Elliott-Chelsea Houses Tenants Association, and Miguel Acevedo, president of the NYCHA Fulton Houses Tenant Association, support the proposal and its focus on NYCHA residents.
“This will greatly benefit the residents of NYCHA Elliott-Chelsea Houses,” said Waters. “Our residents really need better access to job opportunities in the area. A database of available jobs, combined with a listing of our residents who need jobs, would help a lot.”
If elected to the Council, Bottcher said he will work with community based organizations to create this network and ensure that it has the funding and staffing to succeed.
“For too long, many New Yorkers have been left behind,” said Bottcher. “That must change, and a West Side Employment Network will help us lift up everyone and help make a brighter future for all.”
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