Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/unemployment 2017-10-17T01:52:48+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com ‘Interventionist’ De Blasio Unveils Ten-Year Jobs Plan 2017-06-15T04:00:00+00:00 2017-06-15T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=7004:interventionist-de-blasio-unveils-ten-year-jobs-plan Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/bdb_jobs_booklet_presser_works.jpg" alt="bdb jobs booklet presser works" width="600" height="275" /></p> <p>The Mayor &amp; his jobs plan (photo: Felipe De La Hoz)</p> <hr /> <p>Holding up a glossy, 114-page booklet emblazoned with “New York Works” in bold yellow lettering – the same words hanging from the wall behind him – Mayor Bill de Blasio promised on Thursday to make New York City the “capital of cyber security.”</p> <p>Cyber security is one plank in the mayor’s ten-year job creation plan, which he announced from the sleek Garment District offices of SecurityScorecard, a firm specializing in cyber security monitoring and threat detection. Cyber security has been identified as a growth sector, one that will be home to more jobs if the city helps spur it along, the mayor explained.</p> <p><a href="https://newyorkworks.cityofnewyork.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The overall jobs plan</a>, largely put together by Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, promises 100,000 jobs with “good wages” – defined as an annual salary of at least $50,000, which the mayor admitted was somewhat an arbitrary number – through 25 initiatives.</p> <p>Ultimately, the proposal was framed as a way to create a “critical mass” of tech innovation, as the mayor put it, and ensure New Yorkers enter into fields allowing them to live in the city without being “rent-burdened” – spending more than 30 percent of one’s income on rent. The jobs plan is the other side of the coin to the mayor’s 200,000-unit affordable housing plan, which he and Glen unveiled in 2014; both of which attack the city’s affordability crisis and the inequality that the mayor promised to address as a candidate.</p> <p>During the announcement and the press questioning that followed, de Blasio and Glen repeatedly stressed that the plan’s purpose was to create “jobs that would not be created otherwise” as opposed to riding the wave of growing industries and claiming credit. Glen, who said she had spent time studying other jobs plans at the municipal, state, and federal level, derided them as “usually about positioning yourself to take credit for a lot of different things that are going on in the economy already,” but insisted that this plan would supercede those by having a “quality screen” to the jobs.</p> <p>She said that only jobs that could be directly traced to the administration’s efforts would be counted towards the stated job-creation goal, though the exact criteria that would be used was not made clear. The administration committed to providing yearly progress reports.</p> <p>The mayor also couched the proposal as part of what he called a “high investment model of government,” and characterized the proposals -- a variety of city efforts including new uses of city land, workforce development, deal-brokering, and more -- as “investment,” with job gains the expected return.</p> <p>“Private sector folks do key off of government signals, and government actions, and government investments,” he said, and alluded to conversations with tech leaders in which an obstacle had been “a certain amount of lack of cognition on how to get started in New York.” He argued that the investments would demonstrate to job-creators that New York City was serious about accepting their business.</p> <p>The initiatives are subdivided into five areas: tech – the largest, with 30,000 projected jobs; life sciences and healthcare (15,000 projected jobs); industrial and manufacturing (20,000 projected jobs); creative and cultural sectors (10,000 projected jobs); and, the especially and purposefully vague “space for jobs of the future” (25,000 projected jobs). The job targets are further broken down into particular projects, in what Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett called a “framework” that would be adjusted depending on changing industries and sectors. Patchett’s job includes shepherding the plan, adjusting its pieces, and meeting the targets.</p> <p>Under the industrial plank, the Brooklyn Navy Yard expansion is estimated to create 4,800 “good-paying jobs,” but some points are less clear, such as “discretionary tax incentives” leading to 1,500 jobs. The programs will be funded by $1.1 billion in already allocated spending, plus $250 million that “the administration will apply in its November and January updates to the budget.”</p> <p>The job-creation plan comes at a time when the city’s unemployment rate has hovered at around 4 percent, a modern record-low and fact that has been routinely emphasized by the mayor. But, de Blasio explained the need to create jobs with good wages and long-term career options, allowing the city to “shape our own destiny” and lift more New Yorkers out of poverty.</p> <p>

***
by Felipe De La Hoz, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/bdb_jobs_booklet_presser_works.jpg" alt="bdb jobs booklet presser works" width="600" height="275" /></p> <p>The Mayor &amp; his jobs plan (photo: Felipe De La Hoz)</p> <hr /> <p>Holding up a glossy, 114-page booklet emblazoned with “New York Works” in bold yellow lettering – the same words hanging from the wall behind him – Mayor Bill de Blasio promised on Thursday to make New York City the “capital of cyber security.”</p> <p>Cyber security is one plank in the mayor’s ten-year job creation plan, which he announced from the sleek Garment District offices of SecurityScorecard, a firm specializing in cyber security monitoring and threat detection. Cyber security has been identified as a growth sector, one that will be home to more jobs if the city helps spur it along, the mayor explained.</p> <p><a href="https://newyorkworks.cityofnewyork.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The overall jobs plan</a>, largely put together by Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, promises 100,000 jobs with “good wages” – defined as an annual salary of at least $50,000, which the mayor admitted was somewhat an arbitrary number – through 25 initiatives.</p> <p>Ultimately, the proposal was framed as a way to create a “critical mass” of tech innovation, as the mayor put it, and ensure New Yorkers enter into fields allowing them to live in the city without being “rent-burdened” – spending more than 30 percent of one’s income on rent. The jobs plan is the other side of the coin to the mayor’s 200,000-unit affordable housing plan, which he and Glen unveiled in 2014; both of which attack the city’s affordability crisis and the inequality that the mayor promised to address as a candidate.</p> <p>During the announcement and the press questioning that followed, de Blasio and Glen repeatedly stressed that the plan’s purpose was to create “jobs that would not be created otherwise” as opposed to riding the wave of growing industries and claiming credit. Glen, who said she had spent time studying other jobs plans at the municipal, state, and federal level, derided them as “usually about positioning yourself to take credit for a lot of different things that are going on in the economy already,” but insisted that this plan would supercede those by having a “quality screen” to the jobs.</p> <p>She said that only jobs that could be directly traced to the administration’s efforts would be counted towards the stated job-creation goal, though the exact criteria that would be used was not made clear. The administration committed to providing yearly progress reports.</p> <p>The mayor also couched the proposal as part of what he called a “high investment model of government,” and characterized the proposals -- a variety of city efforts including new uses of city land, workforce development, deal-brokering, and more -- as “investment,” with job gains the expected return.</p> <p>“Private sector folks do key off of government signals, and government actions, and government investments,” he said, and alluded to conversations with tech leaders in which an obstacle had been “a certain amount of lack of cognition on how to get started in New York.” He argued that the investments would demonstrate to job-creators that New York City was serious about accepting their business.</p> <p>The initiatives are subdivided into five areas: tech – the largest, with 30,000 projected jobs; life sciences and healthcare (15,000 projected jobs); industrial and manufacturing (20,000 projected jobs); creative and cultural sectors (10,000 projected jobs); and, the especially and purposefully vague “space for jobs of the future” (25,000 projected jobs). The job targets are further broken down into particular projects, in what Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett called a “framework” that would be adjusted depending on changing industries and sectors. Patchett’s job includes shepherding the plan, adjusting its pieces, and meeting the targets.</p> <p>Under the industrial plank, the Brooklyn Navy Yard expansion is estimated to create 4,800 “good-paying jobs,” but some points are less clear, such as “discretionary tax incentives” leading to 1,500 jobs. The programs will be funded by $1.1 billion in already allocated spending, plus $250 million that “the administration will apply in its November and January updates to the budget.”</p> <p>The job-creation plan comes at a time when the city’s unemployment rate has hovered at around 4 percent, a modern record-low and fact that has been routinely emphasized by the mayor. But, de Blasio explained the need to create jobs with good wages and long-term career options, allowing the city to “shape our own destiny” and lift more New Yorkers out of poverty.</p> <p>

***
by Felipe De La Hoz, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Part of Rezoning Plan, City Opens New Career Center in East New York 2016-12-11T05:00:00+00:00 2016-12-11T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6664:part-of-rezoning-plan-city-opens-new-career-help-center-in-east-new-york Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/bdb_espinal_town_hall.jpg" alt="bdb espinal town hall" width="600" height="398" /></p> <p>Mayor de Blasio &amp; CM Espinal (photo: Jeffrey Reed for the City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>After serving jail time in 2014, Anthony McGlashan, a resident of East New York, Brooklyn, struggled to find employment for three years. While he had a certification from the Anthem Institute in the field of Information Technology, he continued to be rejected by employers due to his lack of experience and his criminal background. McGlashan then turned to one of New York City’s Workforce1 Centers, a city initiative that provides free career services by pairing employers with workers, holding workshops for resume and interview preparation, and other resources to aid the job search.</p> <p>In August 2015, McGlashan enrolled in Employment Works, a city program designed to match individuals with criminal histories with full-time, permanent positions in an attempt to reduce recidivism. Through workshops and the support of the program, McGlashan was able to secure an IT support position with the State of New York Unified Court System.</p> <p>“It’s been awhile, it was a struggle,” McGlashan said. “I almost felt like giving up at one time. It was only three years, but it felt much longer than that.”</p> <p>“The program pushed me to look for a more permanent, full-time position,” he added. “It shows you what you have to do in life to get something, to fight for it. Stay ambitious and determined.”</p> <p>Those previously involved with the criminal justice system often face significant difficulties when looking for permanent job opportunities. Despite serving their time, a criminal history makes employees much less likely to be hired. To eliminate this type of employment discrimination by employers, New York City passed <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/media/fair-chance-act-campaign.page" target="_blank">the Fair Chance Act</a> in October of 2015, forbidding employers from asking for the criminal records of job applicants until a job offer has been made.</p> <p>To help further break down barriers faced when looking for a job after a conviction, Mayor Bill de Blasio, working with City Council Member Rafael Espinal and Commissioner Gregg Bishop of the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), is opening a new Workforce1 center in East New York, Brooklyn on Monday. The center, part of the East New York Neighborhood Plan that was <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6287-east-new-york-deal-sets-precedent-for-wave-of-rezonings" target="_blank">negotiated by Espinal and the de Blasio administration and passed through the City Council</a>, is tailored to the specific needs of this neighborhood.</p> <p>East New York has a high percentage of out-of-work, out-of-school youth and individuals with criminal backgrounds, according to the city. As part of the East New York rezoning that passed earlier this year, the career center is the nineteenth such center across the city. It will cost about $700,000 annually to run, according to SBS, with that money coming through a federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grant. The funding for creating the facility, about $165,000, came from the $276 million allocated for community development in the East New York plan, which encompasses a key stretch of Espinal’s district that will soon be home to new housing, retail, and other development, along with other community services, like a new school. It is an underdeveloped area with high concentrations of poverty and the first neighborhood rezoned under the de Blasio affordable housing plan.</p> <p>“We are investing in the people of East New York,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the new workforce center’s opening. “We are committed to providing the training, the education and the job-placements families need to work their way into the middle class.”</p> <p>Council Member Espinal, who <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6287-east-new-york-deal-sets-precedent-for-wave-of-rezonings" target="_blank">negotiated with the de Blasio administration</a> to pass the multi-faceted, “anti-gentrification” rezoning for his district in April, called the high unemployment rate in Brooklyn, especially in East New York, “unacceptable.”</p> <p>“The economic disparities in our city that have put a strain on so many New Yorker’s must be addressed,” Espinal said in a statement. “That is why I pushed so hard to secure this Workforce1 Center as part of the East New York Neighborhood Rezoning Plan. After all, a house is not affordable without a job.”</p> <p>Some of the debate centered on the East New York plan -- and other rezonings being considered around the city -- revolved around the levels of affordability for new rent-stabilized housing in the rezoned area. New housing in East New York will be deeply subsidized by the city, but there are still concerns of displacement. Relatedly, Espinal and others rallied on Saturday against predatory homeowner speculation that has been occurring in the area in anticipation of community improvements and rising property value.</p> <p>“All New Yorker’s should have access to good paying jobs and the tools they need to secure a bright future for their families,” Espinal said. “I am excited that the center has opened so quickly and look forward to the opportunities it will create for our community.”</p> <p>Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College sociology professor, said opening this career center in East New York reflects the mayor’s understanding of the biggest challenge facing young people of color: unemployment.</p> <p>“High levels of joblessness among these young people is a major contribution to participation in underground economies of drug dealing, property crime, and prostitution,” Vitale said in an email.</p> <p>While these centers provide job-searching resources, Vitale said the mayor should continue to identify more ways for unemployed youth to get jobs, increasing public and private sector opportunity.</p> <p>“The question is whether these centers will produce an overall increase in employment or merely rearrange who gets the few jobs that are out there,” Vitale said. “The mayor should also take steps to significantly increase the number of jobs for these young people, through public employment if the private sector is unable or unwilling to do it.”</p> <p>According to the city, the new East New York center includes partnerships with community-based organizations. Espinal points out that while the unemployment rate continues to drop nationally, it has remained higher in Brooklyn, and it is even higher in East New York.</p> <p>“A quality career opportunity can be a ticket out of poverty for all New Yorkers, including those who were formerly acquainted with the criminal justice system,” said Bishop, the city’s commissioner of small business services, in a statement. “This career center will be an asset for the entire East New York community.”</p> <p>

***
by Devin Gannon for Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: details of the funding for the career center have been clarified from the original version of this article.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/bdb_espinal_town_hall.jpg" alt="bdb espinal town hall" width="600" height="398" /></p> <p>Mayor de Blasio &amp; CM Espinal (photo: Jeffrey Reed for the City Council)</p> <hr /> <p>After serving jail time in 2014, Anthony McGlashan, a resident of East New York, Brooklyn, struggled to find employment for three years. While he had a certification from the Anthem Institute in the field of Information Technology, he continued to be rejected by employers due to his lack of experience and his criminal background. McGlashan then turned to one of New York City’s Workforce1 Centers, a city initiative that provides free career services by pairing employers with workers, holding workshops for resume and interview preparation, and other resources to aid the job search.</p> <p>In August 2015, McGlashan enrolled in Employment Works, a city program designed to match individuals with criminal histories with full-time, permanent positions in an attempt to reduce recidivism. Through workshops and the support of the program, McGlashan was able to secure an IT support position with the State of New York Unified Court System.</p> <p>“It’s been awhile, it was a struggle,” McGlashan said. “I almost felt like giving up at one time. It was only three years, but it felt much longer than that.”</p> <p>“The program pushed me to look for a more permanent, full-time position,” he added. “It shows you what you have to do in life to get something, to fight for it. Stay ambitious and determined.”</p> <p>Those previously involved with the criminal justice system often face significant difficulties when looking for permanent job opportunities. Despite serving their time, a criminal history makes employees much less likely to be hired. To eliminate this type of employment discrimination by employers, New York City passed <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/media/fair-chance-act-campaign.page" target="_blank">the Fair Chance Act</a> in October of 2015, forbidding employers from asking for the criminal records of job applicants until a job offer has been made.</p> <p>To help further break down barriers faced when looking for a job after a conviction, Mayor Bill de Blasio, working with City Council Member Rafael Espinal and Commissioner Gregg Bishop of the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), is opening a new Workforce1 center in East New York, Brooklyn on Monday. The center, part of the East New York Neighborhood Plan that was <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6287-east-new-york-deal-sets-precedent-for-wave-of-rezonings" target="_blank">negotiated by Espinal and the de Blasio administration and passed through the City Council</a>, is tailored to the specific needs of this neighborhood.</p> <p>East New York has a high percentage of out-of-work, out-of-school youth and individuals with criminal backgrounds, according to the city. As part of the East New York rezoning that passed earlier this year, the career center is the nineteenth such center across the city. It will cost about $700,000 annually to run, according to SBS, with that money coming through a federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act grant. The funding for creating the facility, about $165,000, came from the $276 million allocated for community development in the East New York plan, which encompasses a key stretch of Espinal’s district that will soon be home to new housing, retail, and other development, along with other community services, like a new school. It is an underdeveloped area with high concentrations of poverty and the first neighborhood rezoned under the de Blasio affordable housing plan.</p> <p>“We are investing in the people of East New York,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the new workforce center’s opening. “We are committed to providing the training, the education and the job-placements families need to work their way into the middle class.”</p> <p>Council Member Espinal, who <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/city/6287-east-new-york-deal-sets-precedent-for-wave-of-rezonings" target="_blank">negotiated with the de Blasio administration</a> to pass the multi-faceted, “anti-gentrification” rezoning for his district in April, called the high unemployment rate in Brooklyn, especially in East New York, “unacceptable.”</p> <p>“The economic disparities in our city that have put a strain on so many New Yorker’s must be addressed,” Espinal said in a statement. “That is why I pushed so hard to secure this Workforce1 Center as part of the East New York Neighborhood Rezoning Plan. After all, a house is not affordable without a job.”</p> <p>Some of the debate centered on the East New York plan -- and other rezonings being considered around the city -- revolved around the levels of affordability for new rent-stabilized housing in the rezoned area. New housing in East New York will be deeply subsidized by the city, but there are still concerns of displacement. Relatedly, Espinal and others rallied on Saturday against predatory homeowner speculation that has been occurring in the area in anticipation of community improvements and rising property value.</p> <p>“All New Yorker’s should have access to good paying jobs and the tools they need to secure a bright future for their families,” Espinal said. “I am excited that the center has opened so quickly and look forward to the opportunities it will create for our community.”</p> <p>Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College sociology professor, said opening this career center in East New York reflects the mayor’s understanding of the biggest challenge facing young people of color: unemployment.</p> <p>“High levels of joblessness among these young people is a major contribution to participation in underground economies of drug dealing, property crime, and prostitution,” Vitale said in an email.</p> <p>While these centers provide job-searching resources, Vitale said the mayor should continue to identify more ways for unemployed youth to get jobs, increasing public and private sector opportunity.</p> <p>“The question is whether these centers will produce an overall increase in employment or merely rearrange who gets the few jobs that are out there,” Vitale said. “The mayor should also take steps to significantly increase the number of jobs for these young people, through public employment if the private sector is unable or unwilling to do it.”</p> <p>According to the city, the new East New York center includes partnerships with community-based organizations. Espinal points out that while the unemployment rate continues to drop nationally, it has remained higher in Brooklyn, and it is even higher in East New York.</p> <p>“A quality career opportunity can be a ticket out of poverty for all New Yorkers, including those who were formerly acquainted with the criminal justice system,” said Bishop, the city’s commissioner of small business services, in a statement. “This career center will be an asset for the entire East New York community.”</p> <p>

***
by Devin Gannon for Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: details of the funding for the career center have been clarified from the original version of this article.</p>
A Fair Chance for Two Million New York City Jobseekers 2016-11-01T04:00:00+00:00 2016-11-01T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6603:a-fair-chance-for-two-million-new-york-city-jobseekers Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/img70.jpg" alt="rally fair chance act" width="600" height="400" style="font-size: 12.16px;" /></p> <p>A rally for the Fair Chance Act (photo:&nbsp;Andrew Bowe, National Employment Law Project)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">For almost two million New Yorkers, the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/media/fair-chance-act-campaign.page" target="_blank">Fair Chance Act</a>, a city law passed one year ago, represents opportunity. The law helps level the playing field during the job application process for the nearly <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/research-supports-fair-chance-policies/">one in three</a> city adults with an arrest or conviction record.</p> <p dir="ltr">For people attempting to support their families after an encounter with the criminal justice system, moving on isn’t easy. The stigma of a record can follow someone for a lifetime, casting a shadow that obscures the applicant’s skills in the eyes of potential employers. When employers inquire about arrest and conviction records up front, those applications with the box checked—indicating “yes, I have a record”—frequently end up in the trash. Applicants who check the box are <a href="http://scholar.harvard.edu/pager/publications/mark-criminal-record">half as likely</a> to get a callback as those who don’t—one-third as likely if the applicant is black.</p> <p dir="ltr">After Brooklyn native Jason Grant left prison, he checked the box on lots of job applications. He didn’t receive callbacks. “It was definitely frustrating,” he says. For over a year, he got only construction gigs—one of a few industries historically more open to hiring workers with records. The work was intermittent and took a toll on his body. Long periods between jobs made it nearly impossible to provide for his son.</p> <p dir="ltr">This year, things changed for Jason and millions of New Yorkers. Thanks to the Fair Chance Act, the conviction-record checkbox on job applications is gone. In other words, the city “banned the box.” All public and private sector employers must now postpone any record inquiries until the final stages of the hiring process—after they have extended a <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/fair-chance-hiring-best-practice-delaying-inquiries-until-conditional-offer/" target="_blank">conditional job offer</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to banning the box, the law requires that if employers run a background check and it turns up positive, they must consider the age of any offense, its job relevance, and evidence of rehabilitation. They must provide the applicant with <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/cchr/downloads/pdf/FairChance_Form23-A_distributed.pdf" target="_blank">notice</a>, a copy of the record, and an opportunity to respond and correct any inaccuracies. The employer may rescind the offer after following that process. (Applicants who observe violations can report them to the NYC Commission on Human Rights.)</p> <p dir="ltr">Referred to collectively as <a href="http://www.nelp.org/campaign/ensuring-fair-chance-to-work/" target="_blank">fair-chance hiring</a>, these safeguards were born out of state and federal <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm" target="_blank">anti-discrimination law</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">After the Fair Chance Act, Jason found a stable job that he loves at Architectural Grille, a modern manufacturing plant specializing in metal products. “I like challenges...I get to learn something new. These are million dollar, intricate, complex machines,” Jason said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Fred D’Antoni, who found Jason through the <a href="http://ceoworks.org/" target="_blank">Center for Employment Opportunities</a>, says hiring Jason was a good choice. “He was just so motivated and thankful for the opportunity...Such great potential.” And he says his experiences hiring other workers with records have been similarly positive.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jason realizes he is lucky. Nearly <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/research-supports-fair-chance-policies/" target="_blank">one in three American adults</a>—disproportionately people of color—has an arrest or conviction record, and many must still check the box when they apply for a job.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the tides are changing. New York is one of <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/ban-the-box-fair-chance-hiring-state-and-local-guide/" target="_blank">14 cities and counties (and nine states)</a> to have banned the box for all employers. The District of Columbia adopted a fair-chance law in 2014 and has since hired <a href="http://www.dcauditor.org/sites/default/files/FCRSA%20-%20Ban%20the%20Box%20Report_0.pdf" target="_blank">33 percent</a> more people with records. After Richmond, Virginia banned the box in 2013, approximately <a href="http://richmondfreepress.com/news/2016/sep/30/second-chances/" target="_blank">one in four people</a> eligible for city hire had a record—and most got a job.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite positive gains, opponents cite <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/racial-profiling-in-hiring-a-critique-of-new-ban-the-box-studies/" target="_blank">two recent studies</a> criticizing ban-the-box. They say the policies result in increased discrimination against applicants of color because employers assume they are likely to have a record. But as one economist noted, the studies are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jared-bernstein/ban-the-box-recent-critics-of-the-policy-are-not-nearly-as-convincing-as-they-think-they-are_b_11655042.html" target="_blank">unconvincing</a>. The results actually demonstrate increased hiring and callbacks for most people with records. Where gains are flat for young men of color, the studies show that racial discrimination in hiring is deeply entrenched. Instead of undoing a policy that works, we should <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/racial-profiling-in-hiring-a-critique-of-new-ban-the-box-studies/">strengthen</a> it with a full jobs agenda and targeted anti-discrimination efforts to address these biases.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the end, the data is only one part of the story. For workers like Jason, stable employment can be <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/research-supports-fair-chance-policies/" target="_blank">the difference</a> between making it or not after contact with the justice system. &nbsp;Having a place to live, supporting your family, a sense of purpose—these all flow from a job. The Fair Chance Act is changing lives for the better, and New Yorkers—both employers and employees—should be proud to have one of the strongest fair-chance laws in the nation.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />Beth Avery is a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and works to promote <a href="http://www.nelp.org/campaign/ensuring-fair-chance-to-work/" target="_blank">fair-chance</a> employment and opportunities for workers with records across the nation.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/img70.jpg" alt="rally fair chance act" width="600" height="400" style="font-size: 12.16px;" /></p> <p>A rally for the Fair Chance Act (photo:&nbsp;Andrew Bowe, National Employment Law Project)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">For almost two million New Yorkers, the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/cchr/media/fair-chance-act-campaign.page" target="_blank">Fair Chance Act</a>, a city law passed one year ago, represents opportunity. The law helps level the playing field during the job application process for the nearly <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/research-supports-fair-chance-policies/">one in three</a> city adults with an arrest or conviction record.</p> <p dir="ltr">For people attempting to support their families after an encounter with the criminal justice system, moving on isn’t easy. The stigma of a record can follow someone for a lifetime, casting a shadow that obscures the applicant’s skills in the eyes of potential employers. When employers inquire about arrest and conviction records up front, those applications with the box checked—indicating “yes, I have a record”—frequently end up in the trash. Applicants who check the box are <a href="http://scholar.harvard.edu/pager/publications/mark-criminal-record">half as likely</a> to get a callback as those who don’t—one-third as likely if the applicant is black.</p> <p dir="ltr">After Brooklyn native Jason Grant left prison, he checked the box on lots of job applications. He didn’t receive callbacks. “It was definitely frustrating,” he says. For over a year, he got only construction gigs—one of a few industries historically more open to hiring workers with records. The work was intermittent and took a toll on his body. Long periods between jobs made it nearly impossible to provide for his son.</p> <p dir="ltr">This year, things changed for Jason and millions of New Yorkers. Thanks to the Fair Chance Act, the conviction-record checkbox on job applications is gone. In other words, the city “banned the box.” All public and private sector employers must now postpone any record inquiries until the final stages of the hiring process—after they have extended a <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/fair-chance-hiring-best-practice-delaying-inquiries-until-conditional-offer/" target="_blank">conditional job offer</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to banning the box, the law requires that if employers run a background check and it turns up positive, they must consider the age of any offense, its job relevance, and evidence of rehabilitation. They must provide the applicant with <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/cchr/downloads/pdf/FairChance_Form23-A_distributed.pdf" target="_blank">notice</a>, a copy of the record, and an opportunity to respond and correct any inaccuracies. The employer may rescind the offer after following that process. (Applicants who observe violations can report them to the NYC Commission on Human Rights.)</p> <p dir="ltr">Referred to collectively as <a href="http://www.nelp.org/campaign/ensuring-fair-chance-to-work/" target="_blank">fair-chance hiring</a>, these safeguards were born out of state and federal <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm" target="_blank">anti-discrimination law</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">After the Fair Chance Act, Jason found a stable job that he loves at Architectural Grille, a modern manufacturing plant specializing in metal products. “I like challenges...I get to learn something new. These are million dollar, intricate, complex machines,” Jason said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Fred D’Antoni, who found Jason through the <a href="http://ceoworks.org/" target="_blank">Center for Employment Opportunities</a>, says hiring Jason was a good choice. “He was just so motivated and thankful for the opportunity...Such great potential.” And he says his experiences hiring other workers with records have been similarly positive.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jason realizes he is lucky. Nearly <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/research-supports-fair-chance-policies/" target="_blank">one in three American adults</a>—disproportionately people of color—has an arrest or conviction record, and many must still check the box when they apply for a job.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the tides are changing. New York is one of <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/ban-the-box-fair-chance-hiring-state-and-local-guide/" target="_blank">14 cities and counties (and nine states)</a> to have banned the box for all employers. The District of Columbia adopted a fair-chance law in 2014 and has since hired <a href="http://www.dcauditor.org/sites/default/files/FCRSA%20-%20Ban%20the%20Box%20Report_0.pdf" target="_blank">33 percent</a> more people with records. After Richmond, Virginia banned the box in 2013, approximately <a href="http://richmondfreepress.com/news/2016/sep/30/second-chances/" target="_blank">one in four people</a> eligible for city hire had a record—and most got a job.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite positive gains, opponents cite <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/racial-profiling-in-hiring-a-critique-of-new-ban-the-box-studies/" target="_blank">two recent studies</a> criticizing ban-the-box. They say the policies result in increased discrimination against applicants of color because employers assume they are likely to have a record. But as one economist noted, the studies are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jared-bernstein/ban-the-box-recent-critics-of-the-policy-are-not-nearly-as-convincing-as-they-think-they-are_b_11655042.html" target="_blank">unconvincing</a>. The results actually demonstrate increased hiring and callbacks for most people with records. Where gains are flat for young men of color, the studies show that racial discrimination in hiring is deeply entrenched. Instead of undoing a policy that works, we should <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/racial-profiling-in-hiring-a-critique-of-new-ban-the-box-studies/">strengthen</a> it with a full jobs agenda and targeted anti-discrimination efforts to address these biases.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the end, the data is only one part of the story. For workers like Jason, stable employment can be <a href="http://www.nelp.org/publication/research-supports-fair-chance-policies/" target="_blank">the difference</a> between making it or not after contact with the justice system. &nbsp;Having a place to live, supporting your family, a sense of purpose—these all flow from a job. The Fair Chance Act is changing lives for the better, and New Yorkers—both employers and employees—should be proud to have one of the strongest fair-chance laws in the nation.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />Beth Avery is a staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project (NELP) and works to promote <a href="http://www.nelp.org/campaign/ensuring-fair-chance-to-work/" target="_blank">fair-chance</a> employment and opportunities for workers with records across the nation.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
New York’s Young Adult Unemployment Crisis Needs A Strategy 2016-10-18T04:00:00+00:00 2016-10-18T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6575:new-york-s-young-adult-unemployment-crisis-needs-a-strategy Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/NYCEDC_pic_students_tour.jpg" alt="NYCEDC pic students tour" width="600" height="472" /></p> <p>Students on a tour (photo via NYCEDC)</p> <hr /> <p>Starting one&rsquo;s adult life in poverty and without a job has serious long-term economic consequences that negatively impact future job prospects, earnings, and wealth. Young people are scaling one of the toughest jobs cliffs in recent memory, and the situation is a looming threat to economic growth in our state. We need to combat New York&rsquo;s young adult unemployment crisis with a robust strategy, and now.</p> <p>One analysis found that a young person who is unemployed for six months can expect to earn $22,000 less over a ten year period. Here in New York, more than 400,000 unemployed 16-to-24-year-olds are looking for work. This could lead to a potential loss of about $8.8 billion in earnings to young adult New Yorkers over the course of the next decade.</p> <p>According to the 2015 American Community Survey, New York&rsquo;s young adult unemployment rate is 15 percent, and for young adult New Yorkers of color, it can be as high as 25 percent. That&rsquo;s more than 10 and 20 percentage points higher than older adults, respectively. Relatedly, more than 13 percent of 16-to-24 year olds in New York are out of school and out of work altogether. On top of high unemployment, the state&rsquo;s young adult poverty rate is 22 percent, 10 percentage points higher than for older adults.</p> <p>High unemployment only exacerbates growing economic inequality. Wages and incomes already stand at lower levels for this generation than older generations when they were young adults. Worse, today&rsquo;s job market increasingly requires a postsecondary credential or qualification, and along with it, the possibility of student debt.</p> <p>By 2018, at least 62 percent of jobs will require some college, 28 percent of jobs will require only a high school credential, and just 10 percent of jobs won&rsquo;t require a high school credential. For the most disadvantaged and disconnected young adult New Yorkers, this puts access to a decent job&mdash;and with it a financially secure life&mdash;even further out of reach, threatening our state&rsquo;s economic security and shared prosperity.</p> <p>Unfortunately, despite the unmet demand for a trained workforce and high young adult unemployment, a real statewide youth jobs strategy is missing.</p> <p>Young Invincibles, the youth advocacy organization for which I am Northeast Director, is releasing a report in the coming weeks analyzing the Urban Youth Jobs Program. The program currently represents the state&rsquo;s single largest youth jobs investment in New York State, authorized to spend $50 million annually. Our report finds that despite this massive investment, the tax credit program inadequately addresses the need to develop the skills of young adults that would better connect them to meaningful careers.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why Young Invincibles, along with more than a dozen other partners across the state, is calling on the Labor Committees of the New York State Assembly and Senate to hold a joint public hearing to review the Urban Youth Jobs Program and begin the public policy process to develop a real young adult jobs strategy.</p> <p>There are proven, evidence-based solutions to these issues, but like with any adversity, we must have the political will to tackle our challenges head on and embrace those answers. A public hearing is one way we can start needed conversation about how to respond to the modern-day economic challenges young adult New Yorkers face.</p> <p>****<br /><span style="color: #282723; font-family: museo_sans, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Kevin Stump is the Northeast Director for Young Invincibles, an advocacy and policy organization working on higher education, health, and jobs issues impacting 18-34 year olds. YI is also a part of President Obama's College Promise Task Force. On Twitter&nbsp;</span><a href="https://twitter.com/KevinStump" target="_blank" style="outline: 0px; font-size: 15px;">@KevinStump</a><span style="color: #282723; font-family: museo_sans, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;and&nbsp;</span><a href="https://twitter.com/YoungInvincible" target="_blank" style="outline: 0px; font-size: 15px;">@YoungInvincible</a><span style="color: #282723; font-family: museo_sans, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">.</span></p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/NYCEDC_pic_students_tour.jpg" alt="NYCEDC pic students tour" width="600" height="472" /></p> <p>Students on a tour (photo via NYCEDC)</p> <hr /> <p>Starting one&rsquo;s adult life in poverty and without a job has serious long-term economic consequences that negatively impact future job prospects, earnings, and wealth. Young people are scaling one of the toughest jobs cliffs in recent memory, and the situation is a looming threat to economic growth in our state. We need to combat New York&rsquo;s young adult unemployment crisis with a robust strategy, and now.</p> <p>One analysis found that a young person who is unemployed for six months can expect to earn $22,000 less over a ten year period. Here in New York, more than 400,000 unemployed 16-to-24-year-olds are looking for work. This could lead to a potential loss of about $8.8 billion in earnings to young adult New Yorkers over the course of the next decade.</p> <p>According to the 2015 American Community Survey, New York&rsquo;s young adult unemployment rate is 15 percent, and for young adult New Yorkers of color, it can be as high as 25 percent. That&rsquo;s more than 10 and 20 percentage points higher than older adults, respectively. Relatedly, more than 13 percent of 16-to-24 year olds in New York are out of school and out of work altogether. On top of high unemployment, the state&rsquo;s young adult poverty rate is 22 percent, 10 percentage points higher than for older adults.</p> <p>High unemployment only exacerbates growing economic inequality. Wages and incomes already stand at lower levels for this generation than older generations when they were young adults. Worse, today&rsquo;s job market increasingly requires a postsecondary credential or qualification, and along with it, the possibility of student debt.</p> <p>By 2018, at least 62 percent of jobs will require some college, 28 percent of jobs will require only a high school credential, and just 10 percent of jobs won&rsquo;t require a high school credential. For the most disadvantaged and disconnected young adult New Yorkers, this puts access to a decent job&mdash;and with it a financially secure life&mdash;even further out of reach, threatening our state&rsquo;s economic security and shared prosperity.</p> <p>Unfortunately, despite the unmet demand for a trained workforce and high young adult unemployment, a real statewide youth jobs strategy is missing.</p> <p>Young Invincibles, the youth advocacy organization for which I am Northeast Director, is releasing a report in the coming weeks analyzing the Urban Youth Jobs Program. The program currently represents the state&rsquo;s single largest youth jobs investment in New York State, authorized to spend $50 million annually. Our report finds that despite this massive investment, the tax credit program inadequately addresses the need to develop the skills of young adults that would better connect them to meaningful careers.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why Young Invincibles, along with more than a dozen other partners across the state, is calling on the Labor Committees of the New York State Assembly and Senate to hold a joint public hearing to review the Urban Youth Jobs Program and begin the public policy process to develop a real young adult jobs strategy.</p> <p>There are proven, evidence-based solutions to these issues, but like with any adversity, we must have the political will to tackle our challenges head on and embrace those answers. A public hearing is one way we can start needed conversation about how to respond to the modern-day economic challenges young adult New Yorkers face.</p> <p>****<br /><span style="color: #282723; font-family: museo_sans, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">Kevin Stump is the Northeast Director for Young Invincibles, an advocacy and policy organization working on higher education, health, and jobs issues impacting 18-34 year olds. YI is also a part of President Obama's College Promise Task Force. On Twitter&nbsp;</span><a href="https://twitter.com/KevinStump" target="_blank" style="outline: 0px; font-size: 15px;">@KevinStump</a><span style="color: #282723; font-family: museo_sans, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">&nbsp;and&nbsp;</span><a href="https://twitter.com/YoungInvincible" target="_blank" style="outline: 0px; font-size: 15px;">@YoungInvincible</a><span style="color: #282723; font-family: museo_sans, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;">.</span></p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
Improving Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Hispanics Will Be a Boost for the City 2016-09-22T04:00:00+00:00 2016-09-22T04:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6540:improving-entrepreneurial-opportunities-for-hispanics-will-be-a-boost-for-the-city Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/pichardo_horizontal3.jpg" alt="pichardo presser" width="600" height="395" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Assemblymember Pichardo, one of the co-authors</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">New York City is, and always will be, one of the world&rsquo;s economic powerhouses. Yet that doesn&rsquo;t mean there isn&rsquo;t room for improvement. In fact, although unemployment across the city has fallen faster than the rest of the country since the recent recession, areas like the Bronx still lag.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the Bronx has seen some progress, there is still much work to be done for shared prosperity and economic opportunity for all. With the right tools and policies focused on entrepreneurial growth, the most impoverished borough can have the opportunity to complete the city&rsquo;s economic boom and ensure that the entire city, not just the lower half of Manhattan and a few other areas, experiences long-lasting economic growth.</p> <p dir="ltr">New York City&rsquo;s resilience was again proven by an impressive return to economic prosperity after the recent worldwide recession. Although it&rsquo;s near 5 percent overall unemployment rate may make much of the rest of the country envious, the Bronx continues to have a rate above 7.5 percent, more than 50 percent higher, while the 1.5 million Hispanics in the borough also make up a majority of its unemployed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hispanics in New York City total nearly 2.5 million people; alone they would be the fourth-largest and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Even while Hispanics still constitute a disproportionate amount of the unemployed, also losing more of their wealth than any other demographic during the recession, Hispanic-owned businesses have proliferated across New York. In fact, new business growth in this demographic has increased at a rate of more than eight times the overall rate, simultaneously improving total payroll by 40 percent and revenue by almost 50 percent.</p> <p dir="ltr">Local representatives and appointed officials shouldn&rsquo;t take these statistics lightly. While we&rsquo;ve always known that something has to be done to improve economic outcomes in more disadvantaged areas such as much of the Bronx, what hasn&rsquo;t always been clear is what will drive results. It should now be clear: the best opportunities for long-term growth reside in improving entrepreneurial opportunities.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is plenty of room for improvement. While the Governor Cuomo&rsquo;s <a href="http://labor.ny.gov/strikeforce/strikeforce.shtm" target="_blank">Unemployment StrikeForce</a> is a great program to increase employment, New York City was <a href="https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-cities-for-hispanic-entrepreneurs/6491/" target="_blank">recently ranked</a> 145 of 150 U.S. cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. More should be invested in creating entrepreneurial opportunities, while also ensuring that regulations don&rsquo;t impede them. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">When asked, one of the greatest impediments to creating and growing a business is the lack of access to capital. Hispanics in particular receive funding at rates far lower than the rest of the population. In one recent study, it was found that across the country less than one percent of venture capital funding went to Hispanics. Grants and other creative funding opportunities should be pursued through both the private and public sectors, especially here in the New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">While some ventures require significant capital to start, it should be noted that thousands of small business owners across the city continue to bootstrap their way to success. While few are lucky enough to get angel funding and share space with other like-minded entrepreneurs, many more start businesses selling products such as those offered by Herbalife, which focuses on expanding its line of nutrition products and is especially popular in the Hispanic community.</p> <p dir="ltr">With little up front capital, these &ldquo;micro-entrepreneurs&rdquo; are creating additional income for their families that is otherwise hard to obtain. When considering easing the burden of the city&rsquo;s bureaucracy, officials should realize that many of these smaller startups might not find it worthwhile to take the time &ndash; and pay the fees &ndash; to navigate the existing regulatory process. Although tempting to focus on the direct revenues gained from complying with existing regulations, if we have to choose between a profitable, tax-generating, employee-paying business in operation versus an entrepreneur sitting on the sidelines, the former should always win.</p> <p dir="ltr">Incubators and accelerators are another alternative to promote economic development and are fast becoming the best way to improve the economy of a particular region, especially one that is currently plagued by poor economics. Thus far, few of these exist in areas outside of Manhattan.</p> <p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s not unreasonable to ask a municipality to get involved in the creation and development of a local accelerator; after all, the entire region benefits. Just ask 1776, which has incubated hundreds of local startups in Washington D.C. with a relatively small grant from the city and has begun expanding across the country, recently opening a branch in Brooklyn. New York should have similar success stories in every borough.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whether a future business mogul looking to get that tech startup on its feet or a local family just hoping to help make ends meet with income selling nutritional products within their neighborhood, one thing is certain: New York&rsquo;s future resides in these entrepreneurs. Local appointed and elected officials should remember that New York City&rsquo;s best chance to grow is through the expansion of new, and improvement of existing, entrepreneurial opportunities outside of lower Manhattan. Only then can we guarantee the successful future that New York has always promised.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo represents the 86th District in the New York State Assembly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Justin V&eacute;lez-Hagan is the executive director of the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and an economic policy researcher at the University of Maryland.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/pichardo_horizontal3.jpg" alt="pichardo presser" width="600" height="395" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Assemblymember Pichardo, one of the co-authors</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">New York City is, and always will be, one of the world&rsquo;s economic powerhouses. Yet that doesn&rsquo;t mean there isn&rsquo;t room for improvement. In fact, although unemployment across the city has fallen faster than the rest of the country since the recent recession, areas like the Bronx still lag.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the Bronx has seen some progress, there is still much work to be done for shared prosperity and economic opportunity for all. With the right tools and policies focused on entrepreneurial growth, the most impoverished borough can have the opportunity to complete the city&rsquo;s economic boom and ensure that the entire city, not just the lower half of Manhattan and a few other areas, experiences long-lasting economic growth.</p> <p dir="ltr">New York City&rsquo;s resilience was again proven by an impressive return to economic prosperity after the recent worldwide recession. Although it&rsquo;s near 5 percent overall unemployment rate may make much of the rest of the country envious, the Bronx continues to have a rate above 7.5 percent, more than 50 percent higher, while the 1.5 million Hispanics in the borough also make up a majority of its unemployed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hispanics in New York City total nearly 2.5 million people; alone they would be the fourth-largest and one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Even while Hispanics still constitute a disproportionate amount of the unemployed, also losing more of their wealth than any other demographic during the recession, Hispanic-owned businesses have proliferated across New York. In fact, new business growth in this demographic has increased at a rate of more than eight times the overall rate, simultaneously improving total payroll by 40 percent and revenue by almost 50 percent.</p> <p dir="ltr">Local representatives and appointed officials shouldn&rsquo;t take these statistics lightly. While we&rsquo;ve always known that something has to be done to improve economic outcomes in more disadvantaged areas such as much of the Bronx, what hasn&rsquo;t always been clear is what will drive results. It should now be clear: the best opportunities for long-term growth reside in improving entrepreneurial opportunities.</p> <p dir="ltr">There is plenty of room for improvement. While the Governor Cuomo&rsquo;s <a href="http://labor.ny.gov/strikeforce/strikeforce.shtm" target="_blank">Unemployment StrikeForce</a> is a great program to increase employment, New York City was <a href="https://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-cities-for-hispanic-entrepreneurs/6491/" target="_blank">recently ranked</a> 145 of 150 U.S. cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. More should be invested in creating entrepreneurial opportunities, while also ensuring that regulations don&rsquo;t impede them. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">When asked, one of the greatest impediments to creating and growing a business is the lack of access to capital. Hispanics in particular receive funding at rates far lower than the rest of the population. In one recent study, it was found that across the country less than one percent of venture capital funding went to Hispanics. Grants and other creative funding opportunities should be pursued through both the private and public sectors, especially here in the New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">While some ventures require significant capital to start, it should be noted that thousands of small business owners across the city continue to bootstrap their way to success. While few are lucky enough to get angel funding and share space with other like-minded entrepreneurs, many more start businesses selling products such as those offered by Herbalife, which focuses on expanding its line of nutrition products and is especially popular in the Hispanic community.</p> <p dir="ltr">With little up front capital, these &ldquo;micro-entrepreneurs&rdquo; are creating additional income for their families that is otherwise hard to obtain. When considering easing the burden of the city&rsquo;s bureaucracy, officials should realize that many of these smaller startups might not find it worthwhile to take the time &ndash; and pay the fees &ndash; to navigate the existing regulatory process. Although tempting to focus on the direct revenues gained from complying with existing regulations, if we have to choose between a profitable, tax-generating, employee-paying business in operation versus an entrepreneur sitting on the sidelines, the former should always win.</p> <p dir="ltr">Incubators and accelerators are another alternative to promote economic development and are fast becoming the best way to improve the economy of a particular region, especially one that is currently plagued by poor economics. Thus far, few of these exist in areas outside of Manhattan.</p> <p dir="ltr">It&rsquo;s not unreasonable to ask a municipality to get involved in the creation and development of a local accelerator; after all, the entire region benefits. Just ask 1776, which has incubated hundreds of local startups in Washington D.C. with a relatively small grant from the city and has begun expanding across the country, recently opening a branch in Brooklyn. New York should have similar success stories in every borough.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whether a future business mogul looking to get that tech startup on its feet or a local family just hoping to help make ends meet with income selling nutritional products within their neighborhood, one thing is certain: New York&rsquo;s future resides in these entrepreneurs. Local appointed and elected officials should remember that New York City&rsquo;s best chance to grow is through the expansion of new, and improvement of existing, entrepreneurial opportunities outside of lower Manhattan. Only then can we guarantee the successful future that New York has always promised.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo represents the 86th District in the New York State Assembly.</p> <p dir="ltr">Justin V&eacute;lez-Hagan is the executive director of the National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce and an economic policy researcher at the University of Maryland.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>