The kick-off of 2014 Internet Week in NYC (May 19) had a special guest speaker, the Mayor Bill de Blasio. For the first time he addressed the City’s tech community. Mr. de Blasio acknowledged the importance of the tech industry in NYC, mentioning that it represents 291,000 high-quality jobs. And he opened the door to all foreigners willing to work here.
«We want to attract the best talent – the Mayor said. – So besides giving municipal I.D. to foreigners already working here, we’ll help foreign students get visas if they want to stay and work here and maybe build their own startups». This promise – together with what the Mayor said in a press conference last Friday (May 16) about his being proud to be Italian and his will to help Italians in NYC – is very good news for the growing number of young Italians looking at New York as an opportunity for business.
Mr. de Blasio mentioned the previous Mayor, Michael Bloomberg: «He did a great job in setting the foundation for the technology boom in the City, but we want to go further and do more to foster economic growth in the City». How?
First, the Mayor promised the visas to foreigners, in order to help NYC startups get the talent they need. Second, there is the new “NYC Tech Talent Draft” that will connect around 4,500 computer science and engineering students to NYC startups: it’s a program that «introduces NYC’s tech scene to student audiences seeking entrepreneurial career opportunities, while providing NYC start-ups with a convenient, effective way to recruit top computer science and engineering students»,
Third, Mr. de Blasio announced the “Tech Talent Pipeline”, a $10 million initiative meant to train “thousands” of New Yorkers for high-tech jobs. The funding will come from the City, the NY State and privates, including JPMorgan Chase.
Forth, the de Blasio administration has created the “Jobs for New Yorkers” task force, made of 30 members, who represent a balance of “supply” and “demand”. Among them, there is Fred Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures: one of the most active player in the NYC tech community, and that’s a very good sign. The task force «will develop real-time strategies to strengthen the city’s workforce and help workers develop the skills needed to secure good paying jobs in fast-growing careers», reads the press release.
Fifth, the Mayor stressed the importance of transforming public education from pre K (“scuola materna”) to college, with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs at each level.
Finally, Mr. de Blasio promised to launch a «bold and decisive plan to give universal affordable access to broadband everywhere in the city»: reexamining its franchise agreements with Verizon’s fiber Internet service and Time Warner Cable; turning Manhattan’s payphones into a free, widespread Wi-Fi network; and creating a Wi-Fi network that will serve more than 80,000 Harlem citizens.