Aug 10, 2020 - Economy

A big hiring pledge from New York CEOs

Illustration of a mechanical arm holding a hiring sign

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Leaders of more than two dozen of the New York City area's largest employers — including JPMorgan Chase, Ernst & Young, IBM, McKinsey & Company and Accenture — aim to hire 100,000 low-income residents and people of color by 2030 and will help prep them for tech jobs.

Why it matters: As the city's economy has boomed, many New Yorkers have been left behind — particularly during the pandemic. The hiring initiative marks an unusual pact among firms, some of them competitors, to address systemic unemployment.

What's happening: A new group that calls itself the New York Jobs CEO Council says it plans to hire 100,000 New Yorkers over the next decade — with a focus on low-income people and those from Black, Latinx and Asian communities.

  • That includes hiring and offering apprenticeships to 25,000 students from the City University of New York, whose colleges traditionally serve low-income students and students of color.
  • The focus will be on training for entry-level technology jobs — for instance, students may be taught to code in Python and other useful computer languages.
  • The CEO Council has hired Dr. Gail Mellow, who most recently was head of CUNY's LaGuardia Community College, to spearhead the project.
  • She'll serve as a liaison, letting the CUNY colleges know what type of training the companies need and helping place students at the firms.

The backstory: The initiative started before the pandemic, but has taken on particular urgency since then, as health and income discrepancies have emerged — and as the nation has grappled with systemic racism.

  • "It’s become more clear that companies have to do more in terms of income inequality, and this is one thing that I think will help a great deal," Carmine Di Sibio, CEO of Ernst & Young, tells Axios.
  • As part of the initiative, companies like E&Y will relax their hiring standards for some entry-level tech jobs — e.g., no longer requiring four-year or advanced degrees.
  • "Over time, the qualification for these jobs have gotten a lot more difficult versus what is actually needed for these jobs," Di Sibio says.

The bottom line: Many New Yorkers are stuck in low-paying jobs with little hope of advancement, and the New York Jobs CEO Council marks an effort to make a dent in the problem.

  • "We are using our collective power to prepare the city's workforce the skills of the future, and helping New Yorkers who have been left behind get a foot in the door," says Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
Go deeper