Silicon Alley Could Revive NYC's Middle Class, Report Says
Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 06:00 AM
New York's tech sector has made some entrepreneurs rich. A new study says it could also preserve and grow the city's middle class.
The potential boom in jobs hinges on city government's ability to set up future workers for success in software engineering and other fields that require 21st-century skills, according to a report released Tuesday by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office.
"New York City is in the midst of an entrepreneurial revolution, but the benefits of this revolution are not being felt by all New Yorkers," Stringer said in a statement.
The report, "Start-up City," lays out 11 recommendations Stringer says will spur entrepreneurship, lead to "robust economic growth" for Silicon Alley and allow working-class New Yorkers to climb the socio-economic ladder.
Education is at the heart of plan. The city should start a financial aid program for engineering students and CUNY should develop a dedicated STEM — or science, technology, engineering and math — program for high school students, the report says.
It also recommends the city DOE expand its computer science curricula at the K-12 level, as it did with the new Academy for Software Engineering near Union Square.
Transportation and infrastructure projects also feature prominently in "Start-up City," which is the first report Stringer has issued since he announced he's running for city comptroller — not mayor — in 2013.
Stringer also identifies five challenges to New York creating "a pipeline of jobs for working families": bureaucratic roadblocks, spotty Internet access, an inferior transportation network, expensive housing and office space, and a shortage of talent.
If the city succeeds in breeding and retaining that talent, many workers will benefit: Entry-level software coders at tech firms can earn as much as $65,000 a year, according to the report. Census data show the citywide median household income in New York City is just $50,285.