Some of the biggest employers in New York are making a public commitment to fight racial disparities in the workforce.
Today, 27 CEOs, including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos; Stephen Squeri, chairman and CEO of American Express; and Ajay Banga, CEO of Mastercard, announced the creation of the New York Jobs CEO Council.
The coalition — which is chaired by the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, IBM, McKinsey, EY and Accenture — plans to collaborate with the CUNY college network and local nonprofits to create more job opportunities for low-income, diverse communities throughout the five boroughs.
Among its goals, the council members collectively aim to hire 100,000 traditionally underserved New Yorkers by 2030, including creating job and internship opportunities for 25,000 CUNY students.
“I’m thankful the New York Jobs CEO Council is joining us to promote economic justice and provide opportunities for our city’s diverse workforce,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “Together, we will build back our economy fairer and stronger than ever before.”
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The COVID-19 crisis has created widespread job losses throughout the U.S., but it has disproportionately impacted the Black, Latinx and Asian communities, who have higher levels of unemployment. As of the end of July, 14.6% of Black workers were unemployed, followed by 12.9% of Hispanics and 12% of Asians. (By comparison, only 9.2% of white workers were jobless.)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement, “The COVID crisis highlighted a sad societal truth: underserved communities too often pay the highest price, and as we work to build back better from this virus, New York is confronting this injustice head on.”
By partnering with CUNY, the coalition hopes to create more career pathways for students who have faced barriers to economic opportunity, by helping them secure entry-level jobs, apprenticeships and work-based learning programs.
In addition, the council will coordinate with organizations such as HERE to HERE, which developed the CareerWise NY apprenticeship initiative, and with the New York City Department of Education, in order to help scale relevant training programs.
While the coalition currently includes primarily Fortune 500-level companies, the group said it plans to broaden its membership going forward and recruit CEOs from a diverse range of organizations, to “ensure that companies of all sizes are represented.”