“It’s the first time since the turn of the 21st century that the city has seen a large influx of companies that are coming into Camden, so we think the timing of this is perfect,” said Kris Kolluri, CEO of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, referencing, for example, the expansion of the scrap-metal recycling company EMR and the arrival of the Michaels Organization. There are 34 total employers currently listed on the site.
Over the last year, he said, as more companies move into the city, residents have been wondering: What jobs are available? How do we get them?
Kolluri acknowledged that there are sites like Indeed and Monster where jobs can be searched by location, but he noted that Cooper’s Ferry is a trusted brand that’s known in Camden. Plus, he said, the more opportunities and information about employment, the better.
Many of the employers featured on the site — American Water, Subaru, the logistics company NFI — have been recipients of $1.6 billion in tax credits in exchange for bringing jobs to the city. The tax credits have become the subject of a feud between Gov. Phil Murphy and Camden political power broker George E. Norcross 3d. A Murphy-appointed task force suggested in June that companies linked to Norcross were given tens of millions of dollars more in tax credits than they deserved.
Several of those employers also will not pay property taxes for a decade on their new facilities, even as Camden faces the “most severe” challenge of raising money of any New Jersey municipality, according to a report from New Jersey’s Division of Local Government Services.
Kolluri said the timing of the job portal’s launch had nothing to do with the tax-break controversy.
“Cooper’s Ferry has been around for 34 years and we’ve been involved in the neighborhoods for the entirety of that time,” he said. “We are doing this because we think it’s consistent with our mission. ... We think it’s the right thing to do.”
The job portal comes at a time when Camden’s unemployment rate — 6.8 percent — is nearing a 30-year low.