BUFFALO, NY (WBFO)—This has been a violent summer, across New York State, mostly blamed on young men. Some say they have nothing else to do. If that’s true, Albany wants to offer an alternative.
Albany sees jobs for young people as a way to ease the burgeoning gun violence problems on the Empire State’s city streets. It’s sending 20 cities, including Binghamton, Utica and Syracuse, $16 million more dollars for projects to help young people find jobs in a private sector that says it’s having trouble finding people to fill job openings.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul explained the plan Thursday afternoon in Buffalo, at a Delavan Grider Community Center meeting with anti-violence activists.
“Many employers are begging for assistance and what we can do is pair up these individuals and get them the training they need, through state-run programs, with willing employers to help eradicate the spectre of violence by giving them an alternative, giving them hope,” she said.
Hochul compared looking for the human source of gun violence to what was done at the height of the COVID pandemic.
“With some targets, based on age, demographics, race, as well as crime statistics that show us where to go,” she said. “So just like we did with identifying the areas with the highest rate of infections, where we targeted testing and also we targeted vaccinations, we can deploy and target resources to very specific neighborhoods.”
It meets what anti-violence advocates have long said, that there is no better solution to street violence than a job. The program will also pour cash into summer jobs and job training.
Hochul said the state is also going after the guns that cause the violence.
“Gun violence is what we’re focusing on,” she said. “We also have very aggressive programs with our partners in law enforcement to get illegal guns off the street, another major source of why this problem has escalated.”
Across the state, Hochul and the governor have been meeting with anti-violence activists and explaining the new approach, based on jobs as alternatives to gun violence.