Meets with faith leaders concerned about urban unemployment
By Jeff Cohen
October 17, 2011
Governor Dannel Malloy is getting ready for a special session next week focused on jobs. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Malloy spoke with religious leaders in Hartford Monday about how to bring more of those jobs to the state's cities.
Malloy sat at the head of a table of leaders of the greater Hartford faith community, and he came to reiterate what he says is his commitment to job creation in the state's urban centers.
But people like Rev. Josh Pawelek wanted more. Pawelek is the president of the Greater Hartford Interfaith Coalition for Equity and Justice.
"Everyone in this room can testify to how the recession and the unemployment rate particularly in North Hartford is devastating families, breaking families, devastating the community. And I guess I want to ask again -- is there room for a specific urban core job strategy moving forward?"
Malloy responded that there already is something of a jobs strategy for the cities -- from a more activist labor department to an emphasis on workforce training.
"You're asking specifically do I think the one-day special session that we're trying to drive on a bipartisan basis is going to address everything you want. The answer is, I don't think it will."
But Malloy said his administration is nevertheless focused on the kind of jobs that Pawelek wants to see.
Still, the people he came to meet with pleaded for more. Like Stephen Camp, reverend at Faith Congregational Church in Hartford, who wants to hear Malloy speak out aggressively, and say...
"...that it is a priority that urban job s is a priority for this governor. That black and brown folks in this community are going to feel some of the benefit of your leadership."
Unemployment in Connecticut is at nine percent. In Hartford, it's almost twice that. Malloy answered by saying he wasn't seeking any sort of endorsement, but that he -- more than any recent governor -- is sensitive to the concerns of the state's inner cities.