A New Plan to Hire Thousands of Workers to Help N.Y.C. Families in Need

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Adrienne Adams, the speaker of the City Council, announced on Wednesday an effort to help hire New Yorkers for important but unfilled city jobs. The plan, which she described during her third State of the City address at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, is intended to improve services for New Yorkers and provide access to good-paying jobs that will help people remain in the city.

Adrienne Adams, the City Council speaker, said that insufficient staffing at city agencies had undermined New Yorkers’ access to services, adding, “This does not have to be our reality.”Credit…Cindy Schultz for The New York Times

Why It Matters: New York is struggling to fill job vacancies.

New York City is the nation’s largest municipal employer, but has struggled recently to recruit and retain employees. As of September 2023, there were over 20,000 vacant municipal jobs, according to Council data.

The vacancies have caused delays in services that have affected the most vulnerable New Yorkers. For example, only 14 percent of applications for cash assistance were processed within the required 30 days during a four-month period last year, compared with 95 percent in 2019 according to data from the preliminary Mayor’s Management Report. City officials say they have recently hired 1,000 workers and reduced the delays in processing benefits.

“The pandemic and an unequal recovery have exacerbated economic hardships, while a lack of capacity within our city agencies has undermined access to assistance that families could once rely on,” Ms. Adams said in her address on Wednesday. “This does not have to be our reality.”

How the Plan Would Work: Partly by hiring CUNY students and seasonal workers.

Working with its largest municipal labor union, District Council 37, the city would fund an employment initiative starting this year that would create a pathway to city jobs for those at work force development programs at the City University of New York and other institutions. Participants would receive help with civil service test preparation and exam fees.

The second part of the effort would connect workers who are typically underemployed, including young people and asylum seekers, with seasonal city jobs such as cleanup crews or internships in various industries.

Henry Garrido, executive director of District Council 37, said in a statement that the initiative would be “an engine of economic opportunity and upward mobility for New Yorkers of all backgrounds.”

Background: Ms. Adams pointed to a lack of affordable housing as another reason people are leaving New York.

Ms. Adams has become one of the most vocal critics of Mayor Eric Adams’s administration. She has criticized its management of the city budget and its policies on housing and criminal justice while proposing alternate solutions.

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