Community leaders in New Haven held a news conference on Wednesday demanding Yale University update the city regarding a commitment it made in 2015 to hire 1,000 new New Haven residents, 500 of them from identified neighborhoods in need.
“This particular press conference is to let the community know that the fight is continuing and to give them an update and to give them a hope that we are not going to let up and that we are fighting for our community, especially our low-income communities,” Pastor Kelcy Steele of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church said.
Steele has been serving New Haven’s Dixwell community for years. He said the neighborhood has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the city, something he is fighting to improve.
“Low-income does not mean low intelligence,” Steele explained. “We have people in our communities that are qualified. We have people in our communities that are capable, and we just need to give them a fair chance.”
Three years ago, Yale University committed to hiring 1,000 New Haven residents by April of 2019 for a variety of jobs, including administration, hospitality and research. Community leaders want to know if Yale is on track to fulfill that promise, calling on the city’s Board of Alders to hold a public hearing.
“We want Yale to be successful,” Democratic state Rep. Toni Walker explained. “We’re not trying to stop Yale from being successful, but we want to be a partner in that process to make sure that they’re in compliance with what they agreed to.”
Yale told NBC Connecticut it is partnering with community non-profits on the hiring initiative. It did not elaborate on how many new residents have been hired since the commitment was announced in 2015.
In a statement, university officials said: “Yale is committed to reaching its goal of hiring new haven residents, and is working diligently with New Haven Works on the hiring initiative. Yale already employs 6,000 New Haven residents from all over the city.”
New Haven residents who are interested in joining New Haven Works can visit newhavenworkspipeline.org for more information.