Camden mayor disputes bleak jobs picture | NJ Spotlight News
Big companies in Camden recently faced a fresh round of criticism after a report highlighted how few city residents have been hired by the corporations, despite their pledge to employ locals after receiving massive state tax breaks. Advocates say it points to long-running concerns about just who is benefiting from those incentives and the economic development that continues in Camden.
On Thursday, local job seekers were at Camden High School, where more than 50 employers set up booths at a job fair. “This is a beautiful sight, everyone coming together to provide opportunities for our residents,” said Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen.
Carstarphen has heard his fair share of criticism that companies in his city received more than a billion dollars in state tax breaks to relocate there and didn’t hire enough Camden residents. He said raw job numbers don’t tell the whole story, since some of the companies donate money to local causes. “Think about the foundation that’s being laid when corporations are giving back to organizations that’re helping our youth,” he said.
Ronsha Dickerson, chair of the Camden We Choose Coalition, said the community needs more than donations. “Resources are always good, but employment is much better. Camden residents are only asking for these companies to really take a look and say ‘how can I make Camden residents employable? What can we do? Can we train them up, can we meet them where they are? Can we give them jobs better than just sanitation and cleaning?” Dickerson said she would support tweaking the tax break so that companies who get them must hire a set minimum of Camden residents.