Help wanted: City Hall’s ‘community hiring’ effort launched to add workers from lower-income communities

Mayor Adams announces community hiring initiative in front of 32BJ union members holding signs
Mayor Eric Adams announced the city’s first-ever community hiring effort, which will leverage more than $1.2 billion in city contracts to create job opportunities for underserved New Yorkers at the SUNY Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center in Harlem on Thursday, June 20, 2024.
Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday unveiled the first phase of his long-sought effort for the city to specifically hire a certain percentage of city-contracted workers from lower-income communities.

The initiative, known as “community hiring,” will begin with a request for proposal for $1.2 billion in city contracts for security guard and fire safety agent services, according to City Hall. The contracts are with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services — the agency charged with recruiting and hiring city workers as well as purchasing goods and services.

The contracts have a goal of hiring 40% of personnel from those living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, or ZIP codes where at least 15% of the population lives below the federal poverty level.

During a Thursday morning press conference in Manhattan, the mayor said the effort uses the city’s purchasing power to create jobs for New Yorkers from lower-income communities.

“It’s a smart way of recycling our tax dollars,” Adams said. “It drives new economic opportunities to communities across the five boroughs … City vendors and contractors must provide employment and apprenticeship opportunities to working people in low-income neighborhoods. You’re not being passed up anymore, you’re going to be included.

“It’s a smart way of recycling our tax dollars,” Mayor Adams said of the community hiring program. “It drives new economic opportunities to communities across the five boroughs.”Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The administration rolled out the RFP with community hiring after the passage of state legislation this past session in Albany, Adams said. The law went into effect on May 15.

Once awarded, the contracts will provide 10 million hours of prevailing wage jobs to both NYCHA residents and those living in lower-income ZIP codes, according to the mayor’s office. Jobs covered by the contracts include security guards, security guard supervisors, field inspectors, field managers, and emergency action plan and fire safety directors.

Doug Lipari, executive director for the Mayor’s Office of Community Hiring, said this is just the first of many groups of contracts that will include community hiring. Other contracts that will utilize community hiring include construction, technology, engineering, design and human services.

First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright said that the city will issue roughly $80 billion in RFPs, many of which it aims to require community hiring over the next 4 to 5 years. The deals are set to generate 36,000 jobs each year and over $1 billion in wages, she added.

Israel Melendez, vice president of the building service workers union 32BJ SEIU, lauded the community hiring initiative, which he said is helping to give more people “family-sustaining jobs.”

“I was able to send my daughter through college on a security officer’s salary,” Melendez said. “The community hiring component to this is very very important. We have to be able to get people from the community to be invested in the community.”