Staff rehired to new posts

Though the recession has forced Yale to cut 350 members of its staff, the University is trying to rehire those it let go to posts at the School of Medicine and other sectors that were hurt least by the decline in the endowment.

More than half of the people whom the University laid off in the wake of the 2008-’09 economic crisis have been rehired to new positions at Yale, University President Richard Levin said last month. Though the endowment is recovering more slowly than anticipated and Yale continues to face tight finances for the current and coming fiscal years, administrators said the School of Medicine — which is supported largely by grant funding rather than by the endowment — has been able to reemploy staff who lost their jobs on central campus and in other parts of the University.

“The parts of the University that are not dependent on the endowment but are dependent instead on other sources of income have been growing at the same time as other parts have been shrinking,” Levin said in a late February interview. “They’ve been adding staff at the same time as the rest of the University has been cutting.”

Many of those laid off individuals have found work in locations from the Medical School to the libraries, said Christine Pedevillano, director of staffing for human resources. Yale has rehired 169 of the clerical and technical employees who were laid off since April 2009, she added.

Levin said the Medical School is foremost among those areas of campus with “growing” sources of income.

Only about 10 percent of the Medical School’s funding comes from the endowment, Levin said. Instead, federal research grants from the National Institutes of Health and income from patients and insurance companies provide much of the school’s money, Provost Peter Salovey said.

“I’m delighted that there are parts of Yale that, despite the economy, have been able to grow primarily with the use of funds provided from outside the University,” Salovey said. “It’s especially gratifying that that growth has been a source of employment for people whose work went away in other parts of the University.”

A 24.6 percent plunge in the endowment in 2008–’09 precipitated the layoffs and caused administrators to enact drastic, sweeping budget reforms across campus. In the latest round of job cuts, approved last May, University departments accepted the voluntary resignations of about 150 staff in exchange for severance packages and eliminated almost 100 additional positions.

Jen Bellegarde, an employee at the Medical School, was among the clerical and technical workers laid off and rehired in the past two years. Bellegarde had worked as a research assistant in psychiatry since May 2007, but the project’s grant funding ran out and she lost her job at the Medical School in June 2010.

“I think one of our grants we were expecting to get ended up being postponed for a while because of the economy,” she said.

Bellegarde was rehired by the Medical School as an autopsy technician in March 2011, after spending nearly eight months in the interim employment pool — one of the options offered to laid-off clerical and technical employees. As part of the pool, Bellegarde retained the same salary and benefits she had with her previous position, and got priority notification about certain job openings at Yale.

Pedevillano said the interim pool also provides job training for people who have been laid off after years and even decades in one position at Yale, preparing them to reenter the University’s workforce in a different area.

Though the endowment returned 8.9 percent in the latest fiscal year, Yale has still looked to shrink its budget — Levin and Salovey announced in January that the University would see another round of cuts in the coming academic year.

Drew Henderson contributed reporting.

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