Our core problems are long term and cannot be solved by short term “band aids.” But our need to reverse the downward trend and make a difference in the lives of workers and communities is urgent and cannot wait.
Our core problems are interconnected and in many ways common. The same forces that push nearly all our economic growth to the tiniest minority of our wealthiest residents, ensure that they don’t pay their fair share of taxes. This denies state and local government the resources necessary to provide critical public services and build the critical public structures necessary to foster anything close to equal opportunity. The same forces that appeal to bigotry, xenophobia and racism in order to divide us are the ones that attack unions for believing workers deserve decent pensions and health care, and the same forces that promote legislation that restricts workers’ rights.
We cannot allow these forces to divide us. We defeat them only by working together. The “Celebration of Unity, Equality and Democracy” was intended to kickoff both a long term Unity effort and to spur the group to engage right now in urgent actions that serve the long term change we envision.”
An ongoing coalition formed out of the event and will continue to work on key issues areas identified by the participants of founding groups, which represent close to 300,000 members across the state.
Street pressure by New Haven Rising and the community-labor coalition paid off, as New Haven’s largest employer, Yale University, announced it will hire 1,000 New Haveners over the next three years.
See article for more information: www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/yale_promises_to_hire_more_new_haveners/
Voting is essential to our system of democracy. But it is also a way to build power for change. Communities that vote in high numbers tend to get attention, get their voices heard, and get what they want from elected officials and city administrators that that make policies and delegate essential resources and services, which directly impact our communities. CCNE’s non-partisan voter engagement work goes beyond voter registration and turnout, to grassroots education and mobilizing around crucial issues faced by our urban communities.
Recognizing that inner-city communities are among the most disenfranchised and underserved, we see door-to-door civic engagement outreach is critical to shifting the balance of power and redressing income and racial inequalities. This type of neighborhood canvassing is a key component of our strategy to build a grassroots base of power to win positive change for working and out-of-work families in the urban centers of CT.
In 2008 we launched our first Community Voter Project by training high school interns to conduct non-partisan door-to-door issue-based surveys, voter registration and civic engagement outreach. The project empowered youth to educate their own neighbors about voting and: building power, having a voice in decision-making, understanding how government works, and becoming empowered to actively engage in the decision-making process. Through 1,000 in-depth conversations the youth had with people at their doors, the following issues emerged as the top concerns facing families and youth are*: Jobs & the Economy; Crime, Drugs, Violence, & Incarceration; Education; Healthcare; and Housing.
Since that time we have run several more successful Community Voter Projects in New Haven and Hartford. We engaged college students, unions, and community members and developed their capacity to lead non-partisan canvassing, become more involved in their community, and speak out on local issues. CVP canvassers utilized voter registration as a way of engaging in open-ended but purposeful conversations with residents about issues in their neighborhood. They also identified potential leaders at the doors, recruited them to volunteer with the CVP, and mobilized with them to fight for the things our communities need: access to quality affordable education, health care, housing, and to good jobs that sustain families and the economy.
On September 9th 2014 an energized crowd of over 400 residents, elected officials, and local clergy packed the Elks Lodge on Dixwell Avenue to publicly launch New Haven Rising’s campaign for Access to Good Jobs for New Haven residents. New Haven Rising is CCNE’s membership-based 501c4 ally and sister organization.
“Our city is on the rise and we are determined to rise with it,” said NHR key leader and president, Seth Poole. “We are going to improve the economic standing of the people of New Haven.”
There is a jobs crisis in New Haven: unemployment, underemployment, and low wages. Of 83,000 total jobs in the city, only 19,000 are held by city residents. And of the 47,000 living wage jobs, a measly 2,000 are held by residents in under-resourced areas like the Hill, Fair Haven, and Dixwell-Newhallville.
New Haven Rising held the press conference and rally after reaching their initial goal of educating 2,000 local residents about the lack of access to livable wage jobs for residents – particularly those that live in neighborhoods of need. This powerful event was just the beginning of a concerted grassroots campaign to shift the dynamics of poverty and employment in the city.
Read more in these press articles:
- Rally Seeks Local Hiring for Living Wage Jobs (NH Independent)
- Campaign Demands Better Job Access (Yale Daily News)
- Group Pushes for More Jobs for Minorities, New Haven Residents (NH Register)
- Access to Jobs (I Love New Haven blog)
On November 15 leaders who have put their heart and soul into CCNE during these 15 exciting years came together to reflect on and celebrate the work. CCNE is fighting every day to break down barriers to employment, to change bad jobs into good, and to harness economic growth for racial justice. www.facebook.com/events/927506730611756/
CCNE was honored with the “Communiversity Award” at the second annual Board of Alders’ Black & Hispanic Caucus gala on September 27th. The gala awards ceremony recognizes individuals and groups who are making a positive contribution to the city while raising funds to make a difference in the lives of the youth and seniors. Our staff, Board and many volunteers are honored to be recognized with this award.
Good jobs make for strong communities -and New Haven is rising! After years of door-knocking, leadership training, and organizing around an agenda that puts the needs of our communities front and center, we’re finally turning the tide in New Haven. In 2012 the Board of Aldermen unanimously adopted a legislative agenda reflecting key issues from CCNE’s 2011 report, A Renaissance For All Of Us: Building an Inclusive Prosperity for New Haven. This June, a comprehensive local Jobs Pipeline program (New Haven Works), which is at the heart of this work, officially opened its doors!
What do we want? Good Jobs! Throughout our history of door-knocking and surveying, residents have consistently raised jobs as a top issue. With close to 30% of residents in many neighborhoods unable to land stable, living wage jobs it’s no surprise that so many are concerned about employment issues.
During CCNE’s December 3, 2011 City-Wide Community Leaders meeting, a jobs funnel or “pipeline” that connects New Haven residents to good jobs was identified as a leading priority among the 300 participants. We have made great strides in the past couple of years thanks to everyone pushing to make our collective vision of inclusive prosperity for all New Haveners a reality! But we still have work to do..
What will it take? For a jobs pipeline to succeed at addressing the problems of unemployment, underemployment and violence in New Haven it must do more than provide training and support services. It must also connect people to actual jobs.
This kind of structural change requires the community to come together to press employers, developers, and city government to do their parts. We’ve reached a turning point in our city’s history and the work we’ve done together to win the BIG changes our communities need is paying off. In June 2013 the jobs pipeline, New Haven Works officially opened its doors to the public.
How we got here:
- Last April 2,000 people joined the “Let’s get to work” march & rally in support of the Jobs Pipeline, youth opportunities, and good contracts for workers at Yale University and other area companies. Read more on that here.
In our workplaces:
- Last June our allies in the Unions at Yale won an outstanding contract with Yale University. The contract included Jobs Pipeline provisions that will connect out-of-work New Haveners to good jobs at the University. This historic accomplishment not only opens Yale jobs to local residents, but also paves the way toward expanding the Pipeline to other major employers.
In the halls of government:
- In January 2012 the Board of Aldermen unanimously adopted a legislative agenda that includes the jobs pipeline.
- They then established a working group – made up of community leaders, employers, city officials, foundations and other key stakeholders – to develop a pipeline that meets the needs of residents, employers, and taxpayers while helping to address New Haven’s most pressing problems.
- At a packed April 2012 Public Hearing community leaders described the Jobs Pipeline as a public safety and crime-reduction strategy.
- In September 2012 the Board unanimously backed the working group’s plan to create a comprehensive jobs pipeline program (“New Haven Works”). One key point of the plan is coordinating existing initiatives, rather than duplicating services.
The Pipeline: New Haven Works is designed to connect New Haveners seeking work with local employers looking to hire. The organization will help employers find good recruits, and help job seekers be prepared to put their best foot forward.
- In December 2012 “New Haven Works” incorporated, hired an interim chief, established by-laws, and set up a physical main office location at 205 Whitney Ave.
- On June 5th 2013 New Haven Works officially opened its doors! For too long too many people in the neighborhoods where we organize have faced structural barriers to stable employment. The Jobs Pipeline is about breaking down those barriers.
Gov. Malloy hailed New Haven Works as a way to “share economic opportunity with the people who built this city.” Hear pilot program graduates tell their stories of how New Haven Works helped them overcome barriers to being hired locally (video from #NHV on Vimeo of New Haven Work’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 5):
For more on the “Jobs Pipeline” check out these articles:
12/05/11 “Grassroots Agenda starts with jobs“
12/13/11 “She’s ready to fight for a renaissance“
2/05/12 “A Pipeline in 90 Days“
2/10/12 “Push for ‘Pipeline’ gets underway“
2/14/12 “Should developers pay a ‘Pipeline’ fee?“
3/09/12 “City Eyes ‘Pipeline’ for unemployed“
4/16/12 “Jobs pipeline offers hope“
4/26/12 “Activists march for labor issues“
8/20/12 “‘New Haven Works’ promises a Pipeline“
8/31/12 “Yale begins laying ‘Pipeline’“
9/05/12 “New Haven Works gets green light“
9/05/12 “Jobs Pipeline sails through Board“
10/06/12 “New Haven Works Sets Up Shop“
03/15/13 “Will New ‘Pipeline’ Connect Her to a Job?“
06/05/13 “New Haven Works; so does Osikhena“
06/06/13 “New Haven Works helps in job search“
01/13/14 “Job ‘pipelines’ branch out”
CCNE is delighted to report that a Community Benefits Agreement has been reached between Achievement First and the Newhallville community!
On December 17, after two months of negotiations, Achievement First and Newhallville leaders proudly stood together as partners in a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). Achievement First is a non-profit charter school management organization that operates 22 schools in Connecticut and New York.
This CBA pertains to the construction of a new high school building at the site of the former Martin Luther King, Jr. High School at 580 Dixwell Avenue. Achievement First Amistad High School is a high-performing school that will serve 550 students by 2015. The project will revitalize a crucial plot of land in Newhallville.
This past summer, Achievement First reached out to Alderwomen Foskey-Cyrus (D-21) and Clyburn (D-20) to begin discussions about construction of the high school. The Alderwomen promptly sought input from the neighborhood during Management Team meetings, and facilitated a number of other open community meetings.
Some key components of the Community Benefits Agreement include:
- Access to space in the newly constructed school for Newhallville community engagement.
- Access to the 9th grade for students who did not attend an Achievement First “feeder school.”
- Access for New Haven residents to good jobs through a partnership between Achievement First and the Board of Aldermen-led Jobs Pipeline Initiative (“New Haven Works”).
- Art that pays tribute to civil rights leaders as the former MLK site does.
- Resources for Newhallville youth programming.
“A brand new high school and a Community Benefits Agreement represent a win-win-win for our neighborhood, New Haven parents and children, and Achievement First,” said Ward 21 Alderwoman Brenda Foskey-Cyrus. “Achievement First and Newhallville are showing our city how development can benefit everyone.”
“On behalf of the 550 students who will be served by this new, state-of-the-art, college-preparatory high school, Achievement First is pleased with this outcome,” said Reshma Singh, vice president of external relations for Achievement First. “This agreement provides an unprecedented level of community benefits, not the least of which are the $1.5 million purchase price for the property and the $35 million construction project to raze the existing building and construct a new facility. We look forward to working with this coalition of New Haven’s elected leaders and community groups to improve the lives of children growing up in New Haven, and to build a better city for all residents.”
The Community Benefits Agreement includes a provision that CCNE will review the agreement annually and provide a written report to the parties, the Board of Aldermen, and the City of New Haven.
12/18/12 “It’s A Deal —& A Sale“
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