THe job is the economy…
To revitalize our Economy and our City we need to focus on the fundamentals: Jobs. The job is the economy.
Poughkeepsie has a billion-dollar economy with small businesses creating job growth opportunity. My jobs creation program focuses on the supply chain for the largest employers in the Hudson Valley. Local businesses will grow when we connect them with opportunities to supply products and services for our local anchor institutions. Supporting small business growth through local demand from larger organizations is one way to create sustainable jobs. Whether it’s a Poughkeepsie restaurant buying meat and produce from local farmers, or a new graphic design company printing student brochures for a college, everyone wins when you think local first.
To encourage innovation, I will create a City of Poughkeepsie Business Council to advise my Administration on how the City can better support the growth of local business. I will also bring new attention to entrepreneurship and small business built through the trades. Today’s average trades person is between the ages of 45 and 55. My plan creates apprenticeships with local businesses to train Poughkeepsie’s young people as they work toward certifications, trade licensing and possibly even Business Administration degrees from Dutchess Community College. When their apprenticeships are completed, our young people will be able to join their employers as junior partners. Aggressive building code enforcement on the 500 vacant buildings in the City will give new impetus for trades people training and hiring young apprentices.
Ultimately, apprenticeships will equip our young people with the skills, experience and knowledge necessary to service the nearly 300,000 homes and businesses in Dutchess County.
There is an opportunity to steadily build the economy through trades as well as small and local business. But we have to plan for growth that benefits all Poughkeepsie residents. Today, the average annual household income in the City of Poughkeepsie is $39,900. With twice the national average poverty rate and a high school dropout rate of 54%, unemployment has risen to a staggering 40% for our young people. For most young people with a public education from our schools, there is no way forward. We need jobs, not jails.
Poughkeepsie’s largest employers are IBM, Vassar Brothers Medical Center and Central Hudson Gas and Electric. All 3 have agreed to create PAID work-study opportunities for Poughkeepsie High School students. With hands-on experience, our students will gain a competitive edge as they move forward in their careers and continued studies. As Mayor, I will build a strong work-study program across a wide range of local industry to expose our young people to competitive opportunities in our economy.
But I will not stop there. With only one in three African American students completing high school, we need to provide an alternative to the classroom and a path back into Poughkeepsie’s economy. My plan supports families, creates jobs, and provides hands on career training across industries.
Under my Administration, more of Poughkeepsie’s residents will be able to earn a living in the City. Poughkeepsie will go from a city that has a 40% unemployment rate among young people to a City that educates, graduates and employs ALL its young people. By focusing on jobs, not jails, the City can define a reliable path to the middle class for our families, equipping our residents with the competitive skills to build a career and buy a home right here in the City of Poughkeepsie.