During a reception for business leaders this evening in Newark, mayoral candidate Councilman Ras Baraka will discuss his vision for economic development, according to a release from the campaign.
The plan spells out 12 initiatives that will be the centerpiece for job creation for Newark’s future, and highlights the candidate’s desire to move the city from a “top down” strategy to a more “bottom up” approach.
Baraka said he wants to galvanize Newark’s business community, neighborhoods, schools, universities, medical institutions, ethnic communities, philanthropic and religious institutions.
In his plan, the councilman from the South Ward states his economic development priorities as follows:
• Wage a full-scale campaign to put the chronically unemployed to work
• Create a Deputy Mayor for Full Employment
• Spin off new businesses from Newark’s research institutions
• Use the city’s university and hospital communities as engines for growth
• Ensure jobs for the unemployed on all city-funded development
• Create a better educated workforce, reduce dropouts
• Provide micro-loans to grow small businesses
• Develop local small business assistance teams
• Encourage immigrant, minority and female entrepreneurs
• Revitalize neighborhood retail corridors as well as downtown
• Leverage the city’s international seaport
• Redevelop the waterfront
“In some of Newark’s communities, the depression of the 1930s has never ended, with half of the adults unemployed even in times of prosperity,” Baraka said. “I will make a serious, sustained and coordinated effort to end this cycle of poverty and despair. No mayor has ever tried that before, and I don’t understand why. Chronic unemployment has many causes and requires many different solutions. But, that’s no excuse for surrender.
“I will coordinate a full court press by our city government, our public schools, the Office of Employment and Training, Department of Economic and Housing Development, city construction managers, city procurement offices, the criminal justice system, and institutions outside of government: labor unions, private employers, non-profit job training. I will create a Deputy Mayor for Full Employment to lead this effort. We will use the latest information technology to match specific job needs with specific initiatives and chart their progress in the same way that Compstat matches clusters of crimes to the deployment of police. This new office will not create an expensive new bureaucracy. Rather, it will focus one high-level individual on the responsibility and the authority to harness all of our far-flung and presently uncoordinated efforts to reduce unemployment.”