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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

Updated Nov 17, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on America's education inequities

On Tuesday, November 17, Axios' Sara Kehaulani Goo, Erica Pandey, and Courtenay Brown hosted a conversation on unequal opportunity and systemic racism in schools, featuring Northern California Indian Development Council Indigenous Education Advocate Rain Marshall, National Education Association President Becky Pringle and EdBuild CEO Rebecca Sibilia.

Becky Pringle discussed racial inequity in the education system, highlighting a lack of funding and accessible resources for students of color, as well as the need for congressional action around students' access to virtual education.

  • On the stark challenges of digital access: "60 million students did not have access to virtual learning in the spring...It is now November and those students still do not have that access. We are working with our educators and with communities, with our families or our partners to demand that the Senate act."

Rebecca Sibilia unpacked how school district lines can reinforce existing racial and economic divides, and discussed the possibility of making school districts larger to better distribute resources to students.

  • On growing wealth inequality and its impact on education: "[The] school district line becomes incredibly important in determining which students go to which schools and how well resourced they are. Because we fund schools primarily based on property taxes, the state tries to equalize for differences in the fundamental wealth of communities, but they just can't keep up."

Rain Marshall discussed the legacies of colonization on Indigenous students and the impact of those narrative being left out of school curricula.

  • On the classroom experience of Indigenous students: "You have a curriculum that doesn't reflect the population of Indigenous students...You have these leftover legacies in the school system and implicit bias where teachers just aren't aware that [this] erasure is harmful."

Axios' VP of Events Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with President of Paul Quinn College Dr. Michael Sorrell and discussed the impact of poverty on students, and how to rethink the American education system.

  • On increasing accessibility to higher education: "People need are easier on and off ramps into higher education...The idea that what you study when you're 20, 21, 22 years old is going to be with you for the rest of your life and you won't need to make adjustments is just not realistic."

This event was the second in a yearlong series called Hard Truths, where we'll be discussing the wide ranging impact of systemic racism in America. Read our deep dive on race and education here and check out the series page here.

Thank you Capital One for sponsoring this event.

Nov 18, 2020 - Health

NYC will again close public schools amid virus surge

A student is informed by a crossing guard of a temporary school closure in Brooklyn. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

New York City's public school system will close for in-person learning beginning Thursday after coronavirus positivity rates in the city topped 3%, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Why it matters: The city, which is staring down a second coronavirus wave after being the world's epicenter for the pandemic earlier this year, previously boasted having more students physically in classrooms than nearly any other locality in the country, per the New York Times.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

The robo-job apocalypse is being delayed

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A sprawling new report makes the case that automation and AI won't lead to widespread job destruction anytime soon.

Why it matters: Technological advances in AI and automation will have an enormous impact on the workforce, but it may take decades for those effects to be fully felt. That gives business leaders and politicians a last chance to change labor and education policies that have left too many workers locked in low-quality, low-paying jobs.