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Transcript: Mayor Adams Celebrates New All-Time High Total Jobs Record, Announces $85 Million Delivered To Small Businesses Through Groundbreaking Opportunity Fund

March 11, 2024

Deputy Mayor Maria Torres‑Springer, Housing, Economic Development and Workforce: Good morning, everyone. My name is Maria Torres‑Springer, and I'm the Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce.

I'd first like to thank our host here at Black Seed Bagels, a story of small business success here in our city, and we'll hear from one of the business owners here at Black Seed Bagels in just a few minutes.

Now, I know that today is a very windy day outside, but I think that just means that the winds are blowing in the right direction for our economy. So, to showcase the extent of the good economic news here in our city, it is my pleasure to introduce the 110th mayor of New York City, Mayor Eric Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you for having us. You know, really, really excited and something that we focus on, and can I say enough about Deputy Mayor Maria Torres‑Springer, her team; Commissioner Kim from Small Business Services. He has criss‑crossed this entire borough.

This has been a five borough push because we realized if we were going to bring jobs back, we had to be clear, make the city as livable as possible, which we continue to do, deal with the public safety aspect of it and support our small businesses. They are really the heart and soul of our city, and far too often, the definition of supporting businesses was really just associated with Manhattan.

We became a five borough administration, kudos to you, where's the commissioner? I know he's around here. Kudos to you for getting it done in a real way drawing from his mom and pops who had a small plastic flower shop operation and just grew from there. And so the New York City records we know are made to be broken, and when you look at the administration, we repeatedly have been breaking records over and over again.

So, today, I'm proud to announce that I'm our administration has done it yet again. We have shattered the all‑time New York City jobs records again. Just over two years ago, everyone stated it was going to take place in 2025 if we were going to turn around the economy.

We thought differently. With 22 months, two years and two months— uh, who's counting… we have done just that. And when I was sworn in as mayor, the city was reeling from the devastation of a global pandemic and an economic shutdown. We know what our streets looked like. It was unbelievable when you walked down Times Square and no one was out and you looked to many of our major business corridors, they were [empty,] the stores were closed. Headlines questioned the future of the city.

And when we came into an office with a clear path and we stayed on that path, we stayed focused with real commitments. We wanted to make sure our streets were safer, we wanted to make sure they were cleaner, and we have more jobs now than any time in our city's history.

We inherited this city in crisis, but we have turned New York City around: 4,730,000 jobs, over 4,730,000 jobs in the city, and those are the total jobs, and we're just really proud of this record. This is the highest number of jobs in New York City history. More jobs..  

...than ever before. And nearly 300,000 of those jobs were created in the two years we this administration has been in office. And you know, when you think about that for a moment, 300,000 jobs, that is a remarkable feat. That's the population of Pittsburgh. And those in Pittsburgh, please, you're welcome to come to New York City… and open your business and get employed. And so we're seeing these big numbers in the cities.

But listen, we're clear, there's so much more work to do. We cannot leave behind any communities. The goal is to create the opportunities, utilize our workforce centers and other apparatus to go into those communities that have historically been ignored and show them a pathway to employment. 

Always use the terminology, we've always had this Robert Moses mindset of driving the highway passed community; we're going to create entry ramps and allow people to find their way into employment in a real, easy and accessible way. When you're allowing New Yorkers the ability to support their families and give back to their communities, that's where the job is, it's more than a place that you start your day out in the a.m. hours. It's the precursor to sleep that allows you to experience the American Dream, and we're going to make that dream a reality.

We got it done in 22 months, and we're going to continue to do more to break other records of employment and dig into the unemployment in Black and Brown communities in general, but specifically the Black community. The numbers are too low. I spoke to Reverend Sharpton last week. He and I are going to come together with other leaders and talk about how do we dig into the crevices of these communities and bring people back into the employment field. 

We made it happen by lifting up working class New Yorkers including by giving back to the small business owners who have given so much to our city. We are supporting our small businesses with the resources they need to start, grow and thrive; and, getting government out of their business.

We should be giving support. What we've done in the beginning of the administration by looking at those fines and other ways to hold back small businesses, Deputy Mayor Maria Torres‑Springer sent a clear message to all of the agencies: we would not get in the way of small businesses and we would not harm them. 

They should smile when someone walks into their office from city government and not be worried about, are they going to be dealing with some form of hurting their business from growing. We've changed that mindset, and we will continue to do it. 

One in seven small businesses in our city opened since we came into office; and today, I'm proud to join my good friend, Small Business Service Commissioner Kevin Kim, to announce we have supported 1,046 small businesses through our Historic Small Business Opportunity Fund. I remember when we first announced that fund... That's a hand clap.

We first announced that fund in the Bronx at a sneaker store. And we knew that we were on to something good with our partners. We expanded our Small Business Opportunity Fund to become an $85 million record breaking vehicle to provide low interest rate loans to small businesses. Help with them, reduce their debt, grow, and hire even more New Yorkers.

Of the small businesses we have helped, 80 percent are minority owned, and the Small Business Opportunity Fund has helped rebuild our economy and helped us build fairness at the same time.

Beyond growing small businesses, we are helping to put people back to work. We have placed 44,000 New Yorkers in jobs through SPS Workforce One Career Center, and we've held a number of hiring halls for city jobs and went from location to location. 

The enthusiasm we witnessed on the face of New Yorkers who saw that we brought the opportunities to their community was something we're going to revamp up in the next few weeks. And that is exactly what government should do: lift the New Yorkers up so they can thrive and grow in this city. 

That's why we're here today. We're here today to really say thank you to Black Seed Bagels. Black Seed Bagels is a perfect example of why small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. The team at Black Seed has hired more than 230 New Yorkers through our SBS Workforce One Centers. Thank you so much.

And we really want to thank them. They have shown local hiring, giving people the opportunity to work is one of the most exciting things that you can get. All of us here can remember their first job and how you felt really invigorated by knowing you were going to take care of yourself and help your families in a real way. 

And we have a lot to celebrate. And as I say over and over again, we're not done. There's still harsh economic realities we have to contend with. We need New Yorkers to be able to participate in our economy; and Black unemployment, as I indicated, is low, like it's low across the nation.

So, New York is going to show how we improve it, and it will cascade throughout this entire country. Here's what we're doing to address that. 

Creating opportunities for young people through programs like our Summer Youth Employment, record‑setting 100,000 summer youth jobs, CUNY 2X Tech Talent Pipeline— we need a clear pipeline from CUNY to employment— Youth Career Pathway Action Plan that will help put 250,000 New Yorkers on a path to family sustaining careers.

We are advancing our historic community hiring work to leverage city contracts to create opportunities for low income individuals and those in economically disadvantaged communities.

And we're investing in [a] more equitable future by forward‑looking industries from the ground up, attracting many industries like life sciences in the green economy, often have not been associated with jobs, but it is very much associated with employment; and, making sure they are built with accessible career pathways.

And just a few weeks back, we announced our new green collar jobs and to help New Yorkers ready for nearly 400,000 green jobs in New York City by 2020.

So, it won't be enough until every New Yorker is employed, every New Yorker feels as though they're having a fairer and cleaner future, and that is our obligation and responsibility. This record today is only the beginning. We are committed to breaking our own record year after year, month after month, day after day.

This is a city that we knew will come back and we have. Jobs are up, crime is down, tourism are back, and we have some of the best bagels in the country with Black Seed bagels.

Matt Kliegman, Co-Founder and CEO, Black Seed Bagels: Well, thank you, Mayor Adams. Thank you, Commissioner Kim, Deputy Mayor Torres Springer. Thank you so much for coming. A bit about me, I moved to New York nearly 23 years ago. I was a freshman at NYU and my first day of school was September 5th, 2001. Needless to say, I've seen some highs and some lows, and what a difference four years makes. 

You know, obviously, Covid was a challenging, difficult and very sad time, especially for those who lost loved ones in our city. For Black Seed, we went into Covid with a ton of momentum, accolades; and by the end of March, all our stores were closed. We started with over 100 employees, we ended with one or two, and we had a lot of work to do. 

And there is no question that the city helps support their small businesses— Black Seed included— and we didn't just survive, but we have thrived. We've added almost 200 jobs since that point in time. We have an incredible team that went from zero stores to now 10 Black Sea bagels. 

A line of frozen bagels available at Whole Foods and Fresh Direct. 

And you know, for us it's not about profits, it's also about impact. And Black Seed last year donated 40,000 pounds of surplus bagels to organizations like City Harvest, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine and others. 

So, but we're not alone in that because small businesses, as we know, are the ones that are on the front lines in our communities. We're the ones sponsoring Little Leagues and soccer leagues and doing can drives and coat drives. We're donating to school fundraisers. You don't often walk into a big box store and see a box of cans. 

So, it's important that we continue to support our small businesses even though this is definitely a moment to celebrate. So, don't forget about us. 

And yes, I want to again thank the city for all their help, and also just thank you for all the great work everyone did, DOT included, in formalizing our outdoor dining program, because that program was a lifeline to our business and so many other businesses during Covid, but it's going to continue to be a lifeline to our business and so many businesses, because it is expensive to operate here.

So, thank you for the help there, and thank you for all the help you guys are doing. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you.

Kliegman: Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer: Thank you so much, Matt, and I can guarantee you that we are not going to forget you because our recovery has been powered by small businesses and we know that we need to stay focused on the support of small businesses. They focus on training New Yorkers, stay focused in growing and building a more future focused economy in order to ensure that we don't just keep breaking records, but we really drive the type of inclusive growth that New Yorkers deserve.

And so before I turn it back over to the mayor, I do want to let everyone know that you can go to in order to see all of the training and job opportunities available for New Yorkers across the five boroughs. So, thanks to everyone for being here. It's a great day for Black Seed Bagels. It's a great day for our city. Back over to you, mayor. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you. 

Mayor Adams: NJ, what's happening? 

Question: One if I may. Good morning, sir. Are bagels on your diet? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, yes. I love a good bagel, you know. 

Question: So the question is, you mentioned this a moment ago, that the city does have more work to do and farther to go. What is the way forward as you and Ms. Torres‑Springer have articulated that? 

Mayor Adams: You know, the first order of the business is to go on the ground and speak one‑on‑one— barber shops, hair salons, churches— and ask, you know, are you employed? Do you know how to be employed? I am really blown away, NJ, if you were to do an unscientific survey about walking the streets how many people don't know where is the starting place to go for a job. 

And we need to be extremely visible and user‑friendly. We start with our website. We start to say, if you're looking for a job, where to go. We become too complicated. Everyone doesn't look and know how to look at the ads in our tabloids. 

And so our goal in this administration, we're going on the ground with our job fairs. We're doing analysis of where high unemployment is, and we're going there in the gyms, in the churches, in the community centers, and we're holding the hands of people. What is a resume? How do you write it? How do you go in for an interview? All of those basic ABCs that we take for granted, but far too many New Yorkers don't know. And don't let English be a second language, it becomes even more challenging. 

So, we're not sitting behind our desk. Our workforce centers, our entire team is going out in the field and speaking with people to turn those numbers around. 

Question: So, would that be, then to follow up, sir. Would that be the reason in your mind that the African American community in particular has fallen behind in this respect? 

Mayor Adams: Yes, without a doubt. When we look at the numbers and even during our last hiring halls, when I went into the community and talked about it, stopped at train stations, handed out flyers, asking them, we're doing a hiring hall. Do you know how to get a job? No, I don't know how to get a job. What are the next steps? 

Or, many people don't believe they are employable. They, you know, sometimes you can be beaten down so much that you don't even know the gifts and talents you have. And it's our goal to motivate New Yorkers. There's a job out here for every New Yorker. And you may start in a bagel shop and then you may grow to owning your own shop. 

The stories are clear. How many people have come here as a dishwasher, then go on to own chains of restaurants. There's so many stories that we see, and many people in communities of color, they may have a bad run‑in with the law. They may feel that they could no longer be hired because of that. We want to show people there's always an opportunity in the city of opportunities. 

Mayor Adams: What's up, Dan? 

Question: ...owner of Black Seed Bagels, if you could perhaps talk about what specific kinds of help you got from the city to go from, you know, the bottom of Covid to, you said, having over 200 employees.

And also for the mayor, are you noticing in any of the data the industries where you're seeing a lot of job availabilities? Is it just food service, tech, things like that?

Kliegman: I was talking to Commissioner Kim earlier, you know, there was a time before Covid where people would walk into your restaurant every day looking for a job, like countless people, just bring their resume. looking for a job. And then it just stopped; and obviously, Covid was part of why it stopped.

And we're starting to see it creep back again. But you know, the more traditional channels of hiring were just not working, and so we started to get creative, and we thankfully connected with the Workforce One program, which I hadn't heard about, frankly, before Covid. And they helped us interview hundreds and hundreds of candidates to fulfill jobs here at Black Seed.

Question: [Inaudible] ...anyone in the administration, where are you seeing the job opportunities, the sectors?

Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer: Yes. So, here's the good news. All of the sectors of our economy have roared back, and that's why we've regained the one million jobs that we lost during the pandemic a year ahead of schedule.

But we also have some areas of particular strength, in particular, education and healthcare, finance, information services, business services. So, those have traditionally been strong in New York and are continuing to show a lot of strength. What's also very encouraging, however, is that with leisure and hospitality really decimated, right, during the pandemic, that sector is also coming back.

So, we're going to keep going, as the mayor mentioned, making sure that we are supporting our traditional sectors while also nurturing the growth of sectors like life sciences, like the green economy where we can be strong whether our sources of good‑paying jobs and will help us as we try to not just grow jobs but diversify jobs and make sure that New Yorkers across all backgrounds have access to them.

Question: What do you define as strong? You said these are strong sectors. Do you mean there's a lot of open jobs available that they're hiring?

Deputy Mayor Torres‑Springer: Well, all of the sectors are hiring, but those sectors in particular have regained the most number of jobs since the pandemic. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Good job.

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