New Haven Rising leads campaign for Access to Good Jobs

Photo Courtesy of "I love New Haven"

Photo Courtesy of “I love New Haven”

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.”

DSC04483-001There 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.

Picture1New 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:

CCNE activists participate in mass civil disobedience for immigration reform

On October 8, 2013 twenty activists from New Haven and Hartford traveled to the Washington, DC to join nearly 15,000 immigrant rights advocates from across the country for the “Camino Americano” March for Dignity & Respect. Taking part in a 200-person civil disobedience to push for fair immigration reform were members of CCNE, CT Citizen Action Group (CCAG), the New Haven People’s Center, New Haven Rising, UNITE HERE at Yale, Students Unite Now (SUN), CT Immigrant Rights Alliance (CIRA) and more.

Eight members of Congress, including civil rights icon John Lewis, were arrested alongside labor leaders, DREAMERS (undocumented students), religious leaders and activists from across the country.

The October 8th “Camino Americano” or American Road event was the national culmination of over 150 events held in hundreds of cities across the U.S. on Saturday, October 5 (#OCT5) aimed at pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.

Earlier this year, immigration appeared to be a top priority on Capitol Hill, but has since fallen to the back burner as the shutdown and other issues dominate the news cycle and congressional calendar.

CCNE and the estimated 15,000 participants in the October 8th march and action hoped to pressure Congress to act on immigration reform this year.

(LEFT) Rev. Adelaida Moreno, a co-chair of the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care







Sampling of media coverage of the march and arrests:

ABC News: Eight Lawmakers Arrested in Push for Immigration Reform

POLITICO: 8 Lawmakers Arrested at Immigration Rally

NH Independent: 20 [from New Haven] Arrested at D.C. Immigration Protest

New York Times: 8 Lawmakers Arrested at Immigration Protest

NBC New York: Charles Rangel Among 8 House Democrats Arrested in DC Rally

NPR: Immigration Reform Rally Ends in Arrests in Front of Capitol




(LEFT) Photo courtesy of Reform Immigration FOR America

“New Haven Works” Pipeline to connect unemployed residents to jobs advances

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:

In the streets

  • 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):

New Haven Works Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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

2/01/12 “New Haven Aldermen agree on ‘vision statement,’ issues

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

3/11/12 “Jobs Pipeline forum looks at employment issues in New Haven

4/16/12 “Jobs pipeline offers hope

4/26/12 “Huge rally highlights need for jobs in New Haven as ‘Pipeline’ seeks ways to connect residents to opportunities

4/26/12 “Activists march for labor issues

4/26/12 “2,000 Rally for Pipeline – & put Eli on Notice

6/27/12 “Yale Workers OK New Contract – 6 months early

8/16/12  “New Haven ‘Jobs Pipeline’ group plan seeks to connect residents to jobs

8/18/12 “Good contracts & community benefits at Yale -one union member’s reflections

8/20/12 “‘New Haven Works’ promises a Pipeline

8/22/12 “‘Jobs Pipeline’ group in New Haven plans to match residents to jobs

8/30/12 “High hopes, no guarantees for jobs through New Haven Works program

8/31/12 “Aldermen hear public input on Jobs 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

9/21/12 “Piping Up: Employees, prepare to meet your employers

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

06/07/13 “New Haven Works linking city residents to jobs at Yale

06/28/13 “New Haven creates ‘jobs pipeline’ to fight poverty, unemployment

12/23/13 “New Haven agency helps 110 lands jobs in 6 months”

01/13/14 “Job ‘pipelines’ branch out”

“Achievement First and Newhallville are showing our city how development can benefit everyone”

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.

Press coverage:

12/18/12 “It’s A Deal —& A Sale

12/18/12 “Accord on new Achievement First school in New Haven OK’d

2,000 join “Let’s Get to Work” march for Jobs Pipeline, good jobs at Yale

On April 25th nearly 2,000 came together to fight for good jobs and strong communities for all at the “Let’s Get to Work” march and rally. Students, union and non-union workers, unemployed residents, clergy, Church Street South families, retirees and many others marched from the New Haven green to the Yale medical school in support of a Jobs Pipeline, opportunities for youth, and an end to violence in New Haven.

Activists march for Labor Issues(Yale Daily News)

Huge rally highlights need for jobs in New Haven as ‘Pipeline’ seeks ways to connect residents to opportunities(NH Register)

2,000 rally, put Eli on Notice(NH Independent)



For more images, check out this great slideshow of photos courtesy of Dana Asbury, Nathalie Batraville, Virginia Blaisdell, and Chris Randall:





The March heading down College Street, crossing Route 34>

Photo Courtesy of Chris Randall

CCNE Report highlights inequality, outlines solutions

The Connecticut Center for a New Economy is proud to release our new report, A Renaissance for All of Us: Building an Inclusive Prosperity for New Haven. The release comes on the heels of a large community meeting, held December 3, 2011 at Conte-West Hills School, at which hundreds of people from around the city came together to discuss the issues facing New Haven. In a packed school cafeteria, dozens of tables held small group discussions framed by some common questions about what people thought should be the priorities for the city in the coming year. Read more

1,000 rally against inequality; demand good jobs, end to violence

On December 6th CCNE joined forces with local union members, clergy, community activists and the Occupy New Haven movement at a rally to demand good jobs and an end to violence in the streets.

Read more

“Grassroots Agenda Starts with Jobs” at Dec. 3 City-Wide Community Leaders meeting

Hundreds of residents came together December 3rd at the City-Wide Community Leaders meeting to identify and find collective solutions to New Haven’s most pressing problems.

In a packed school cafeteria, people from across the city—including a significant number of local and state lawmakers—held small group discussions framed by some common questions about what they thought the city’s priorities should in the coming year. Read more

“Grassroots Agenda” Starts With Jobs

Hundreds of residents came together December 3rd at the City-Wide Community Leaders meeting to identify and find collective solutions to New Haven’s most pressing problems. In a packed school cafeteria, people from across New Haven held small group discussions framed by some common questions about what they thought the city’s priorities should in the coming year.

Read more

Families from Church Street South demand safe, affordable housing

On March 30, 2011 children of Church Street South marched alongside their parents and thousands of others from all sectors and walks of life in New Haven’s “We Are One” march for unity and solidarity with working people.

Home to 300 families, Church Street South (CSS) is a low-income housing development adjacent to Union Station that’s been slated for redevelopment. In January carbon monoxide leaked from a faulty furnace led to dozens of Church Street South families being evacuated. The temporarily relocated residents decided to take action. They linked up with CCNE’s Ricardo Henriquez and formed a tenant’s committee; led by Jissette Chona and Esther Martinez, the residents began knocking on fellow tenants’ doors several days per week.  The organizing effort aims not only to address immediate concerns with the buildings, but to give the families there a voice in redevelopment and a right to return to the planned mixed-use project that will eventually replace “the Jungle.”

For more on the organizing at CSS, check out Allan Appel’s article, “Church Street South Tenants Organize” in the New Haven Independent. And for the latest update on the redevelopment of Church Street South, click here.


Articles on the We Are One march: