In addition to our efforts to increase the ‘supply’ of prepared and accredited individuals who are ready to be employed, NJISJ is seeking to increase the ‘demand’ by promoting the creation of living-wage jobs in our urban areas. In 2011, with a generous and innovative grant from the children of our founder Alan V. Lowenstein, we commissioned a research paper and began working with a diverse group of partners to assess the possibility of incorporating community benefit terms into bond covenants for large-scale facilities construction by anchor institutions including colleges and universities served by a state bonding authority. These social covenant bonds will increase the number of construction as well as service and maintenance positions available to urban residents and can be achieved without administrative delay or increased costs. We are also exploring ways to attract social impact investors to these market competitive
investment opportunities using bonds that have social justice impact.
The cost of the loan to the college could be reduced if the following provisions are met:
(1) Disadvantaged workers from urban regions in New Jersey are employed to build, retrofit and operate facilities over the long-term on the campus;
(2) There is increased procurement from women, minority and locally owned businesses; and
(3) There is an increase in the employment of historically excluded populations in the permanent positions associated with the new facilities upon completion.
By leveraging bonding power, we can encourage colleges and universities in New Jersey to hire the most disadvantaged workers in the state on facility construction and operation projects and to buy supplies from small businesses that might not have been considered otherwise. This means hundreds of minority and woman residents of New Jersey, who have been historically excluded from construction labor unions, may have the opportunity to earn a living wage in the construction industry. Also, minority, women and locally owned businesses will have access to new contracts to grow and succeed. Tying urban economic development to the university construction bonding process could put New Jersey’s residents back to work and grow its small businesses.
For more information contact Craig Levine at [email protected].