With over 11,000 New Yorkers, proudly calling Staten Island home, it should come as no surprise that jobs on the island are often in high demand, and even in higher competition. While many Staten Islanders, like Frank Camuso choose to start their own business and are in fact, creating jobs for others. This new generation seems to have a strong focus on education and finding employment before they can even think about building a dream of their own.
Civil servants or employees represent over 70 city agencies, from teachers, firefighters, police officers, to parks workers, and sanitation workers, these jobs provide many Staten Islander’s a level of stability previously unseen before. Frank Camuso having lived on the island for years, knows a number of firefighters and police officers. “It seems like more than half of my high school class became either a police officer, firefighter, or sanitation worker, it’s a dream job for a lot of on Staten Island” said Frank Camuso. Despite his entrepreneurial spirit leading to a number of business ventures, including restaurants and more on the island, not many shares that drive or the “hustle” it takes.
With civil service jobs currently in high demand, thousands of hopeful’s head to the new civil service testing center in St. George, trying for a shot at one of the few available spots. The last wave of testing saw over 79,941 individuals submit exams for everything from sanitation work, to the park’s department. Many see the guarantee of a good salary, and the ability to retire with a pension as well as other benefits. This makes it hard to pass up, especially for a borough of people who have classically chosen early entry into the workforce over advanced education. With so many applicants and so few openings, many may have to adopt the entrepreneurial spirit of someone like Frank Camuso.
The first big hurdle in becoming an NYC civil servant is with the wait. In the months between July of 2016 and February of 2018, 227,429 people have taken civil service exams, 110,230 of such people took tests in 2016-2017 and 117,199 from 2017-2018 as of February. That’s 7,000+ more applicants, and it seems like these numbers will continue to rise every year.
The sad news is that, while only a small number will pass the exam of their chosen field, an even smaller number will be chosen to join the ranks. After months, and in some cases years of waiting. Frank Camuso knew of a friend who came from a family of civil service workers, and not wanting to limit his chances he applied to multiple agencies; police, fire, parks and recreation, sanitation, and even an exam for train conductors.
He lived as a paraprofessional to mentally handicapped school children for over 10 years and unfortunately, he aged-out of the running before he could receive a call from the FDNY or NYPD. He is still hoping to hear back about becoming a train conductor having taken the exam in 2017. With such a slim chance at making it, it truly seems that the city of New York has turned becoming a civil servant a dream rather than a reality.