The New York City Department of Small Business Services today announced that, in the City’s largest-scale recruitment effort ever, the agency placed 350 New Yorkers in jobs at the Whole Foods Market which today opened at the corner of Houston and Bowery Streets in Lower Manhattan. SBS pooled and pre-screened jobseekers from all five boroughs through the agency’s Workforce1 Career Centers to interview for the jobs, developing a close relationship with Whole Foods Market to understand its culture and hiring needs and working with partners including the New York State Department of Labor, CAMBA and F.E.G.S. Health and Human Services System. SBS was introduced to Whole Foods through the Retail Desk of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
"This is an example of how we are better using our federal workforce funds to place more New Yorkers in jobs at a lower cost to the agency," said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. "Equally important, we are responding to the needs of businesses, making it easier for them to work and expand in New York and ensuring that the jobs they create are filled by New York City residents. In addition to creating valuable jobs, Whole Foods Market will serve as an anchor tenant on the Lower East Side, contributing to the quality of life and business landscape of the neighborhood."
Since the Department of Small Business Services merged with the Department of Employment in 2003, the agency has increased the number of New Yorkers placed in jobs through the Workforce 1 Career Centers from 127 per quarter to more than 4,300 per quarter by implementing a business-driven approach toward workforce development.
"At Whole Foods Market, we want Team Members who are passionate about customer service and are seeking an employer where they can build a career. By working with the Department of Small Business Services, we were able to find exceptional candidates to staff our new store," said Fred Shank, a Whole Foods Market spokesperson. "We hope to continue our relationship with SBS as we open three new stores within New York City in the next two years."
Whole Foods Market has a long standing commitment to purchasing locally made products. A study released by the Mayor’s Office of Industrial & Manufacturing Businesses in February found food manufacturing to be one of the City’s most important and vibrant industrial sectors, with 900 local food manufacturers supporting jobs for 33,800 New Yorkers and resulting in $5 billion in sales annually.
In addition to Whole Foods Market, the Department of Small Business Services has undertaken large-scale recruitment efforts for companies such as Chase, Citibank, Fairway, Macy’s and Time Warner Cable.