Stronger industrial sector will help city 1

During her second State of the City address, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams of Jamaica advocated for more jobs, equity and access to resources as part of her economic mobility plan to push the Big Apple forward.

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) held her second State of the City address Wednesday in the Bronx at the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Houses and Community Center.

Jobs, equity and economic mobility were some of the main topics of Adams’ speech, which was held on International Women’s Day as she leads the first-ever majority female City Council.

Throughout her address she thanked city, frontline and health workers for keeping the city afloat during the pandemic.

“Workers run this city,” Adams said. “They put everything on the line for us.”

The speaker said it’s time to show gratitude to workers by making sure they have affordable housing, economic mobility and healthier and safer communities.

“The way we fulfill our obligations for essential workers is by enacting policies that ensure that New York City is a place for everyone,” she said.

Since she took office in a majority women-led Council, an abortion rights act was passed, which provides legal protection for patients, resources for expanded abortion access and $1 million for abortion care, according to Adams. In addition, maternal healthcare legislation was passed to provide doula care and other medical needs.

“This is the difference between life and death,” the speaker said about providing adequate maternal healthcare. There are also more trauma recovery centers, spaces for survivors of violent crime. “We need to stop cycles of violence in this city.”

Civil service has weakened over the years because of understaffing, resulting in delays of agency services and it must be restored, said the Jamaica councilwoman.

“The time is now to fully fund and staff our city agencies,” said Adams, who wants to work with Mayor Adams — no relation — to create hiring events.

The speaker also wants to identify positions that don’t need a degree to be fulfilled and remove language in job requirements that ask for unnecessary qualifications.

“We must ensure civil service careers are open to New Yorkers whose life will change with these opportunities,” Adams said.

By providing more resources to libraries, expanding 3-K programs and creating civil service job pipelines, there will be more equity in terms of access to information, childcare and work for New Yorkers, the speaker added. These programs will be especially helpful to women, people of color and immigrants who come from over 150 countries.

“Diversity is our strength,” the councilwoman said.

To further help job growth the city must also focus on the industrial sector, which has mid-to-high paying jobs, sometimes requires no degrees and helps provide economic mobility that can strengthen families, including minority families, she said.

“There is far more the city can do to expand access to good-paying jobs,” the speaker said. “Let’s double-down on connecting workforce development and apprenticeships.”

The city has land that can cultivate industrial economic growth, added Adams.

“As a first step, the Council will advance updates to the outdated 1961 manufacturing zoning and the citywide text amendment to help maximize the potential benefits of industrial businesses for our city,” she said. One site she hopes to see develop is the Elmhurst Dairy site, which is 15-acres and closed seven years ago in Jamaica. “Imagine, how would our pandemic response be if we had the capacity to manufacture essential goods right here in our own city.”

Her address also included updates on crime and initiatives for helping people access homeownership, supporting NYCHA entrepreneurs, connecting people in the shelter system to municipal jobs, banning noncompete agreements by the end of the year, establishing a social work fellowship, building community pools in districts that lack them and increasing investments into CUNY.

Adams would also like to expand the CUNY Reconnect program, which enables working New Yorkers to go back to school years after dropping out, allowing them to complete their degree. Her father was in a similar program at York College and completed his economics degree.