Will construction firms hire disadvantaged workers?

EDC asks developers to outline plan to hire homeless, low-income residents 

Kyle Kimball and renderings of Hunter's Point South Phase 2 (renderings courtesy ODA)
Kyle Kimball and renderings of Hunter's Point South Phase 2 (renderings courtesy ODA)

Mayor Bill de Blasio is testing out a new initiative that will require contractors on city development projects to provide provisions for hiring disadvantaged workers.

The language was buried in a Request for Proposals the NYC Economic Development Corp. released a little more than a week ago for infrastructure work at the second phase of the 5,000-unit Hunter’s Point development in Queens.

The RFP included a section that requires responders to lay out an employment-opportunities hiring plan that provides opportunities for very-low income city residents, the homeless, those with criminal records, people on public assistance, custodial single parents or those who have participated in a vocational program for non-native English speakers. It does not, however, require specific quotas for these groups.

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While requirements such as these are often found in community-benefits agreements hammered out at the community level, this is the first time such a requirement has come out of City Hall.

“Mayor de Blasio believes that the City should use its economic development tools to help New Yorkers in need of good-paying jobs, and we at EDC are working systemically to achieve that goal,” EDC President Kyle Kimball said in a statement. “In the months ahead, we plan to engage with respondents to this RFP, and with the broader real estate community, to expand job opportunities on City-initiated projects.  We want to make sure that jobs and other benefits created by our efforts to strengthen the economy are accessible to all kinds of New Yorkers.”

During the final days of the Bloomberg administration, TF Cornerstone was selected to construct 1,193 units at the second phase, 796 of which will be affordable to moderate- and middle-income families. Construction is expected to begin once the infrastructure work is completed.