Can the City of Kodak and Xerox Rebuild Its Workforce for the Digital Age?

Casse Owens

Casse Owens of Next City pens "Can the City of Kodak and Xerox Rebuild Its Workforce for the Digital Age?" In Next City, Casse Owens highlights the work of the Democracy Collaborative in Rochester, NY and the steps towards creating worker coops in Rochester: 

Some of the programs implemented under Warren’s “stairway out of poverty” push are aimed at reversing this trend. One initiative, Operation Transform Rochester, offers a range of youth workforce development, job readiness and mentorship services, in an effort to put young people on a trajectory toward secure, well-paid careers. For instance, the city has partnered with the local school district to implement a job training program that prepares students for public safety careers like emergency medical services, law enforcement and firefighting.

Likewise, the city established a nonprofit to support worker co-ops after Warren visited Cleveland to check out Evergreen Cooperatives. Evergreen’s worker-owned businesses not only employ local workers, but also train them, focusing on low-income areas with the goal of spurring job creation. According to Democracy Collaborative, Evergreen’s reported combined 2015 revenue for its three worker co-ops was $6.3 million with 134 workers employed.

Early signs suggest some of these efforts may be starting pay off, albeit slowly. According to U.S. Census estimates, between 2014 and 2016 poverty in Rochester declined by roughly one percent, and now affects just below one-third of the city’s residents. In her second term, Warren says her first priority is to “stop the drain” that is drying up the very jobs that once supported her own family.

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