More than 400 New Haven residents are employed by businesses that rent space from Yale in the buildings surrounding central campus, according to a recent University Properties survey.
The survey, which is the first of its kind, was conducted by University Properties over the summer and consisted of telephone calls to the 85 retail tenants in its portfolio, said Shana Schneider ’00, director of marketing for University Properties.
Tony Bialecki, New Haven’s deputy director of economic development, said he was not surprised by the survey’s findings. He said the central location of University Properties-owned stores in the city makes local employees more desirable to tenants.
“It’s so easy to get here,” he said. “I know lots of employers who … actually go out of their way to hire New Haven people.”
Schneider said University Properties encourages the employment of New Haven residents by making a concerted effort to recruit tenants for its properties from the area, as it has with businesses including Yarn, Sogno Boutique, and Ashley’s.
“Of the 85 tenants in the University Properties portfolio, only five are national chains,” Schneider said. “We encourage the national chains to hire local residents as well.”
Unemployment in New Haven remains far above the national and state-wide average. According to Data Haven, the city’s unemployment rate rose from 3.3 percent to 7.2 percent between 2000 and 2005, while the state-wide rate moved from 2.3 percent to 4.9 percent and the national average from 4.0 percent in 2000 to 5.8 percent in 2003.
But Bialecki said he thinks the tenants of University Properties-owned stores do all they can to stimulate local employment.
Some tenants said that although they have not actively tried to recruit locals, they naturally have a large percentage of employees from New Haven.
Claire Criscuolo, the chef and owner of Claire’s Corner Copia at the corner of Chapel and College streets, said more than three-quarters of her 25 employees are New Haven residents. But she said that unless an applicant lives far from New Haven, she does not consider their residence to be a factor.
“If they live in the area, there is more opportunity to be on time and less need for parking, which is very expensive, [but] living in New Haven has no bearing whatsoever in the hiring process,” Criscuolo said.
Eloy Liva, a supervisor at Atticus Cafe on Chapel Street, which employs 18 employees, 70 percent of whom are New Haven residents, said he was not surprised by the survey’s findings as many applicants for jobs at his cafe are from New Haven.
Schneider said precise results from the survey were unavailable because of its informal nature and the change in employment numbers while the survey was conducted.