Not long after sounding the alarm about rising gun violence across the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new jobs program to stem the issue in Central Brooklyn, aimed at preventing crime before it happens.
“One of the most important strategies is to get young people before the fact,” Cuomo said at Lenox Road Baptist Church in Flatbush on Wednesday. “Before they enter the pipeline of the system, because once they’re in the system, that pipeline only leads to one place.”
The announcement comes after the governor last week declared gun violence a “disaster emergency” and pledged tens of millions of dollars to combat the issue.
In total, Cuomo said that over nearly 4,400 jobs would be brought to Central Brooklyn. That includes 2,000 temporary summer youth employment positions for people aged 15-24 and 2,388 long-term positions in trades like carpentry, baking, and electrician work, the governor said, in a partnership with the Consortium for Worker Education.
“I believe the product of today will be we save young lives,” he said.
The governor met with state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, assemblymembers Diana Richardson and Latrice Walker, and members of community groups and the clergy behind closed doors to hammer out program details and implementation, most of which were not announced at the press briefing.
The governor’s office said later that plans had been laid out to bring 415 summer jobs and 485 permanent jobs to parts of the borough where gun violence is most rampant, host summer events at Shirley Chisholm State Park and elsewhere, and hire new violence interruptors. His office also plans to beef up the existing staff at Brookdale Hospital to become 24/7, in addition to “expanding community services and assistance for mental health support, substance abuse treatment and family crisis intervention.”
The governor’s office says similar community meetings will continue taking place to hash out more program details.
The announcement came fresh off a press briefing Cuomo held at the same church with Borough President and Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams, where the two lavished praise on one another and vowed to have a productive relationship. Adams was not present for the second press conference, which Cuomo stayed for and where he was joined by Myrie, Richardson, Walker, and others.
When Myrie and Richardson were asked about their standing with the governor after both had called for his resignation just months prior, Richardson shot back that the question was “inappropriate” and “divisive,” and criticized the reporter for asking it, claiming she was speaking on Myrie’s behalf as well.
“We are in a state of emergency,” Richardson said. “This is not the time for us to be in our emotions, in people’s personal endeavors. This is the time for us to be solutions-oriented and focused.”