The Jerome Avenue Rezoning Collaborative (JARC) that was established in 2020, had its official launch on February 23, 2021. JARC was created in response to one of the most recent rezonings in New York City that spans 93 blocks across Bronx Community Districts 4, 5, and parts of 7. JARC is a workforce and economic development partnership that aims to prepare current employers and workers for incoming economic development and potential zoning-related impacts, increase the education and employment attainment of young adults and local residents, and advocate for a diversity of quality jobs and businesses among current and future employers.
Since JARC’s inception, JobsFirstNYC has been working with its partners and all community stakeholders to ensure their voices are reflective of the collaborative efforts in the Bronx. JobsFirstNYC employed its five step process of investigating, imagining, incubating, implementing and integrating, to provide support for this ambitious community endeavor. President and CEO Marjorie Parker says “We believe in JARC’s mission and will engage all available resources to support equitable development for the people of the Bronx.”
The recent JARC Week successfully brought together community leaders, business owners, financial institutions, residents and media to discuss recent developments along the Jerome Avenue Corridor and to provide access to resources.
JARC Week kicked off with a Stakeholder Meeting, where JARC community leaders and partners highlighted challenges they have been facing as well as their accomplishments as a partnership. Other JARC Week events included the Paycheck Protection Program Panel which highlighted critical lending options and resources for small businesses to offset operating expenses related to COVID-19. The panel was chaired by Bronx Chamber of Commerce President, Lisa Sorin.
The week ended with the Bronx Borough President Forum, which saw candidates discussing their agenda to improve communities in the Bronx, which have long suffered from disproportionately high rates of out- of-school, out-of-work populations, high unemployment, food insecurity and homelessness.
The collaborative has made significant progress and will soon be unveiling a Business Hub. In addition, the group has launched a new WhatsApp group and a website for business owners, merchants, and employers in the Jerome Avenue Corridor that will allow the JARC to communicate directly with employers and respond to hiring needs, offer B2B opportunities, and connect job seekers to employment and adult education and training opportunities. The partnership has also organized to respond to the bank closures in the community that have exacerbated the lack of financial services and to increase tools available to low to moderate income residents and small businesses.