Per Scholas / Doran Jones UDC facility is well under construction and slated to open this fall. Image Courtesy Per Scholas
Per Scholas / Doran Jones UDC facility is well under construction and slated to open this fall. Image Courtesy Per Scholas

The financial services IT consulting firm, Doran Jones, is moving its headquarters from Wall Street to Port Morris this fall as we mentioned last April. Doran Jones is building an Urban Development Center along with Per Scholas, a nonprofit IT training company to the tune of $1.2 million dollars.

When construction is complete in the fall, Per Scholas will begin training hundreds of underemployed or unemployed adults, 18 years or older with a High School diploma or a GED.  According to an interview Welcome2TheBronx conducted in April, Jessicah White of Per Scholas said, “We will have at least 6 software testing classes in 2014 with at least 20 students per class.”

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The classes are 23 weeks long and unpaid but once the students successfully complete the program, they will then begin working at Doran Jones which will be housed in the same building and receiving salaries of anywhere between $35,000 to $40,000 per year.

Zero Tax Incentives and Subsidies

Unlike FreshDirect which seeks over $140 million in tax incentives and subsidies to move to our waterfront and pollute our roadways with thousands of trucks and over 3,000 vehicular truck trips, Doran Jones and Per Scholas has neither applied nor received any monies from the city or state according to Ms White of Per Scholas.

Partnerships such as Doran Jones and Per Scholas are the kinds of job creation opportunities we should be supporting and nourishing for their wages lift the unemployed and underemployed from poverty, teaching them a skill and a trade that will allow them to continue to grow within their fields.

It is important to note that the jobs FreshDirect promises are low wage paying jobs that hover above $8/hour to slightly above $9/hour — which many FreshDirect employees cannot survive on and simply have to apply for government assistance.

The vast majority of jobs that FreshDirect is offering are pickers & packers and drivers of which the average salaries for those positions are $18,720 and $22,800 respectively.  Pickers & Packers are expected to work at temperatures of 38 degrees Fahrenheit and be able to pick up to 40lbs and be able to work shifts of 8-12 hours per day.  Which job would you want to work at?

The Importance of Living Wage Jobs

In order to lift people from poverty, it is imperative to create jobs that offer living wages.  This is not rocket science.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr has long been a champion of living wage jobs. So much so that he blocked The Related Companies from developing the Kingsbridge Armory because they wouldn’t agree to living wages for their employees.

So why does Ruben Diaz Jr continue to champion for FreshDirect so loudly saying they will bring jobs (that are NOT living wage jobs) at the cost of over $140 million in tax incentives and subsidies? Could it be that he is beholden to FreshDirect because he was lobbied by them as the Mott Haven Herald reported earlier this year?

Doran Jones and the likes are what our Borough President needs to advocate for in our communities for these are the types of jobs that will help uplift the community.

Once the newly trained employees of Doran Jones begin working at their new headquarters in Port Morris, the economic impact of 120 new workers will help the small neighborhood mom and pop shops thrive.  The salaries of just these individuals alone will collectively be $4.2 million to $4.8 million affording them more disposable income to put back into the very community they work in — something that salaries that FreshDirect provides cannot compare to.

In a neighborhood that is filled with small businesses and mom and pop shops, this will be a boon to folks who live and work there.  Places like Bruckner Bar & Grill, The Shoppe Bx, Charlies Kitchen & Bar, Ceetay, The Bronx Brewery, Port Morris Distillery, Tirado Distillery and so many others will benefit from such high wage jobs for Bronxites.

Let’s encourage our local elected officials to support these types of jobs and economic development and not those that will keep our communities in poverty.

To apply for the programs:

According to Per Scholas: “Our base criteria for new applicants is adults 18+ who are unemployed or underemployed with at least a GED or high school diploma. All applicants must be New York City residents (5 boroughs) and authorized to work in the U.S. Most importantly, the candidates must have a passion to learn software testing and technology. More on the characteristics and skill set we seek can be found on our application page:  http://perscholas.org/experience/software-testing-education-program-step-new-york/  ”

To apply for the free course, visit the training page here:  http://perscholas.org/experience/software-testing-education-program-step-new-york/. To learn about all IT job training courses at Per Scholas, visit our New York homepage:  http://perscholas.org/newyork/ 

 

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