2009-04-03 / Top Stories

Smith, Huntley Push Jobs Development Institute

A plan to establish a "green" jobs development institute, put federal money to work creating tens of thousands of new infrastructure jobs and getting more than 1,000 new cops on the street are just some of the job creation efforts included in this year's budget passed today.

In all, more than 123,518 new jobs statewide are expected through key Senate-led proposals, including:

• As many as 58,000 new "green" jobs through the Green Initiatives Institute.

• Up to 50,000 new infrastructure updating and construction jobs.

• 1,391 new police officers as a result of federal stimulus money.

• 2,000 low-income New Yorkers eligible for a works program in the social services.

"Thousands of people have lost their job as a result of the national economic downturn, but these initiatives will help tens of thousands of them go back to work and help us turn this economy around," said Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith. "Job growth is the Senate's number one priority, because our ability to meet the needs of those we represent depends on a strong workforce and stable economy."

"This year's budget forced us to make some very tough decisions," said Senator Huntley, Chair of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. "I am pleased we were successful in creating over 100,000 new jobs. Communities such as those in my district are in need of revitilizing their economic standing and this will put our state on the right track back to prosperity."

As a way to ensure that federal stimulus money dedicated to energy efficiency and development ($561.2 million) is used to create as many jobs as possible, the Senate Majority established the new Green Initiatives Institute. The federal money will go through three programs: the Weatherization Assistance Program ($404 million), the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program ($31.2 million), and the State Energy Program ($139.2 million).

The Institute will turn years of talk into action by supporting sustainable community development projects through these programs that are expected to produce as many as 58,000 new "green" jobs across all industries in New York.

Additionally, due to a renewed investment from the federal government totaling $2.5 billion through stimulus funds, much-needed infrastructure projects will go online, updating New York's roads, sewer systems, highways, bridges and power lines, and other needs. In that funding, there's $1.4 billion for mass transit and $1.1 billion dedicated for highways and bridges.

For every $1 million put into transit and ground passenger transportation, 31.6 jobs are created in all industries, including transportation, throughout the state.

This funding is broken down as follows:

• For highway funds: 30% to large urban areas (population of 200,000 and over), remainder through Metropolitan Planning Organization processes (MPOs);

• Half of all stimulus funding must be under contract within 120 days, with the rest under contract within one year;

• MPOs currently reviewing Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) projects to move initiatives quickly, a process that will include Senate input;

Transit capital proposals expected from MTA and local authorities. Along with 1,391 new police officers who will be hitting the streets, another 2,000 jobs will be created through a Senate program targeted at low-income New Yorkers within the fields of employment services, travel arrangement and reservation services, office administrative services, facilities suppor services, business support services, and services to buildings and dwellings. Across three programs (Health Care Outreach Jobs, Transitional Jobs Program and Green Jobs Corps Programs) $15 million was secured to help through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds.

Each of the three programs include an 80 percent reimbursement on succesfully created jobs.

This will be the first large-scale employment program for New York in decades.

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