Residents don't see the benefits of construction

THE BRONX - Findings from a recent survey show that many Bronx residents are concerned that all the construction projects going on throughout the borough won?t lead to a brighter future for themselves and their children.

Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. says Tuesday?s MLB All-Star game at Yankee Stadium will give the world a chance to take a look at the new Bronx. But some local groups say that many residents feel left out of the borough?s transformation, calling Carrion?s vision a fantasy.

The Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition teamed up with the youth group Sistas and Brothas United to conduct the survey, which they hope will help break the cycle of dead-end and low-wage work. They asked 351 Bronx residents whether things like the revamped Kingsbridge Armory, the new Yankee Stadium, the Gateway Shopping Center and the Croton Water Filtration Plant would lead to better employment opportunities. Carrion believes that the new construction, along with a growing labor force and lower unemployment rates, means the Bronx is booming. The results showed that many of those surveyed did not agree.

?I see a community that wants to work but can?t find a job that gets them out,? Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter says. Hunter says the Bronx she knows has poverty, low-wage jobs and failing schools ? not the bright future Carrion envisions.

Of the people surveyed, most of whom were high school students, 32 percent were unemployed and currently looking for work. A majority of the people did not know about any job centers in the area and believed their communities lacked adequate resources to help them find employment.

The coalition is calling for more local hiring programs and for promoting responsible private and public investment. They say community benefits agreements will help local workers get permanent jobs at fair wages.

The coalition is also recommending an easier path to citizenship for undocumented workers and better preparation in schools for higher education in the workforce. They say the preparation would include helping people build a work history by getting internships and apprentices, because experiences like that would help people develop skills and network for future jobs.

Many of the interviews for the survey were conducted in the northwest Bronx, but the authors of the survey say their findings apply to residents throughout the borough.

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