Haverhill Councilors Seek to Address Growing Gap Between High and Low Paying Jobs

Haverhill City Councilor John A. Michitson. (WHAV News file photograph.)

City Councilor John A. Michitson has a plan to address the growing inequality between high and low paying occupations and the “shrinking of middle tier jobs.”

His colleagues Tuesday night endorsing his call to schedule a Citizens Outreach Committee meeting to start by identifying and cataloging problems and available resources to help. The councilor said one way to help low wage earners is to provide on-the-job training and educational opportunities.

“Kick it off with a Citizen Outreach Committee hearing. Invite citizens, academia, all levels of government, industry, anybody that can help us,” he suggested.

Michitson presented information showing how lower paid labor and service employees are making less now than they were years ago, while college graduates are seeing income levels rise. He said in many cases this is because of increased automation. He also pointed out lower wage earners, particularly Black and Hispanic workers, have been harder hit by the coronavirus pandemic than those in higher paying jobs

Michitson pointed out there are occupations that require only an associates degree, particularly in the medical field, if employers or others can help provide the training.

Also taking part in that meeting, Kerri Sheeran Perry, the new CEO of Community Action who spoke to the Council about how the agency is helping low-income families in numerous ways, including finding avenues to advance their education.

Michitson called Perry a superstar and hoped her agency would be part of the outreach program.

The councilor said other ways to help enable upward mobility for these employees is through federal funding and tax credits.

The Council agreed and voted 8-0, with Councilor William J. Macek absent, to support the plan.

Michitson said he hoped to have a hearing in March or April, depending on the status of the coronavirus.

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