On Thursday, June 15, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new initiative that aims to combat economic inequality, grow the middle class, and adapt to ever-changing technology, by creating 100,000 good-paying jobs over the next decade. The new positions will be in industries ranging from cyber security to healthcare and will have salaries in the $50,000 range.
Called New York Works, the plan will add 10,000 jobs to the city’s cultural sector including positions in fashion, film, design, television, music, and the visual arts. “The city will make strategic investments in the jobs that come from the cultural and entertainment assets that define the New York City brand,” stated its 114-page guidelines. In addition, 30,000 jobs will be created in tech, 15,000 in life sciences and health care, 20,000 in industrial and manufacturing, and 25,000 jobs in emerging commercial centers and office districts.
“The creative sector is the soul of this city, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs in all five boroughs,” said cultural affairs commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “To help creative New Yorkers thrive, we need a diverse set of jobs and affordable places to present and create art. This plan will strengthen the entire cultural ecosystem.”
The proposal states that the city will invest $136 million in Bush Terminal to create a creative campus, Made in NY, that will support the continued growth of the fashion, film, and television industries by adding 1,500 permanent new jobs. The city, Steiner Studios, and the State of New York also intend to transform the Brooklyn Navy Yard into the biggest film production space on the East coast. Among the other areas of focus are podcasting—the digital media platform is expected to grow 30 percent in the next year—theater, and animation. Programs such as a new $5 million Women’s Fund that provides grants to support film and theater projects by, for, and about women is also in the works.
The city will invest $6 million in technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality. It plans to create the first publicly funded VR/AR lab in the country, which will provide entrepreneurs in this space with the technology, funding, and training needed to sustain growth. It will also create sixty-three artist workspaces at the Brooklyn Army Terminal through an agreement with Artopolis, a local artist workspace operator. In addition, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council is working on opening an arts center on Governor’s Island, which will provide studios for visual artists.
More than $1.1 billion has already been committed to New York Works to date. Two hundred and fifty million in funds will be allocated to New York Works initiatives in November 2017 and January 2018, and additional investments toward creating the 100,000 jobs will be made over the next ten years.