Mayor Richards addresses concerns over ROAR program

Posted at: 07/12/2013 6:19 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

News10NBC decided to take another look at a construction job training program. After our original story aired Thursday night, we received emails from some of you, our viewers, concerning the ROAR or “Reaching Occupational Achievement for Rochester Residents” program. It used some of your tax dollars to train 165 people and get them to work. But a year later, only 60 have jobs. Organizers admitted there were issues.

So was the money well spent? The goal of the program was to create jobs and make sure more minorities and women were qualified to be part of the union. But News10NBC learned the jobs aren't available. Program officials say they were overwhelmed with applicants and they just didn't want to turn anyone away.

News10NBC also learned the decision ended up costing taxpayers more more. News10NBC went straight to Mayor Richards for answers.

News10NBC's Joangel Concepcion said, “ The executive director of your construction board told me you had to spend double the money because you didn't want to turn anybody away. With 105 people without work, some may think that money was not spent well. What do you think?”

Mayor Richards said, “I think it was spent well. I think these are people that are eligible for jobs that they weren't eligible before. As you mentioned, a lot of them have been hired already and as we continue to do construction, the opportunities for them will grow. I know what we've done in the city and it's been a success.”

Concepcion said, “ So you think this program was a success even though 105 people are without work, year later?”

Mayor Richards said, “Yes, because more people are employed now then before.”
Mayor Richards did go on to say he felt it was important to get these people in the union. He says the goal of the program is to make sure they have jobs that are not temporary. He says that will take more time.