A new city initiative that will be fully operational this spring promises to help New Haven residents find jobs at businesses across the Elm City and inside Yale’s Ivy walls.
In January 2012 the Board of Alderman created a Jobs Pipeline Working Group tasked with helping solve New Haven’s unemployment problems. The solution they are implementing is called New Haven Works, an initiative that will attempt to match 1000 residents with jobs in New Haven over the next four years by assisting applicants with the hiring process. The board of New Haven Works is stacked with business and political leaders with connections that could prove vital for residents looking to break into the New Haven job market, including Board of Alderman President Jorge Perez, Mayor John DeStefano Jr., Bruce Alexander ’65, vice president for New Haven and state affairs and Vincent P. Petrini, senior vice president for public affairs at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. These officials contend that supporting residents through the application process may be the missing link to connecting many qualified New Haven residents with employment.
“Applicants have difficulty navigating a hiring system,” said Diane Young Turner, the director of New Haven Community Hiring Initiatives. “We’re trying to diminish that by going out and talking with community agencies and explaining the process.”
New Haven Works, which has begun to test the waters of its operation but will but not will not fully launch for a month, will not create any new jobs at Yale, Turner said. Instead, the program seeks to match residents with jobs that are already posted, through methods such as teaching the ins and outs of the Yale hiring system and helping potential applicants complete their resumes.
The program will help examine whether the primary barrier to employment in New Haven is a lack of communication and knowledge of the hiring process, Alexander said. Program supporters said preliminary findings give a positive indication that the theory behind the Pipeline is correct — Mary Renolds, the director of New Haven Works, has already begun reading resumes and has found that there are many qualified people who lost their jobs during the recession and should be helped through New Haven Works, Alexander added.
“We know that there is a high unemployment rate in New Haven, and our desire, or rather our goal, is to figure out what the obstacles are to reducing unemployment and to remedying those obstacles,” Alexander said. Ward 1 Alderman Sarah Eidelson ’12 added that New Haven Works may have a unique approach to eliminating those obstacles, since it works with people through the entire process of getting a job, instead of running a singular workshop.
“Part of what makes the program so exciting is that it’s really a full service organization,” Eidelson said. “People there will see them all the way though.” University officials said that New Haven Works is not about mending a weak relationship between Yale and New Haven but rather strengthening an already mutually beneficial one.
“Many Yale employees now are New Haven residents and many New Haven residents are Yale employees,” Michael Morand ’87 DIV ’93, Yale’s deputy chief communications officers, said in an email to the News. “It’s not a matter of some terribly broken system, but of how to improve what exists and build on other efforts that have shown good results.”
According to the United States Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in New Haven as of Jan. 13 was 9 percent.