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Address the skill gaps for low-wage workers by creating training programs that teach skills specifically geared to what today’s companies need. Patricia Jenny Patricia Jenny is Vice President for Grants at The New York Community Trust, New York City’s community foundation. Tim Johnson Tim Johnson is Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Finance and Graduate Medical Education at the Greater New York Hospital Association.
Angie Kamath Angie Kamath is currently the Executive Director of the New York site of Per Scholas, a national nonprofit that breaks cycles of poverty by training and placing unemployed and underemployed adults into entry and mid-level IT positions. John Mogulescu John Mogulescu is the Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, where he is responsible for the oversight of collaborative programs between CUNY and the New York City Public Schools, CUNY Prep Transitional High School, the CUNY Language Immersion Program, CUNY Start, the Adult Literacy and GED Preparation Programs, and the University’s Workforce Development Initiative. Although New York City's unemployment rate has plummeted in recent months, economic recovery remains little more than a rumor for the more than 300,000 New Yorkers between 18 and 24 years old who are not in school and out of work or stuck in low wage jobs—a number comprising 35 percent of all New Yorkers in that age range.
This past spring, Mayor Bill de Blasio convened the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force, a 30-member committee of noted corporate executives (including JobsFirstNYC board member Greg Hambric of Modell's Sporting Goods), educators, philanthropists, union leaders, city officials and nonprofit service providers, to develop strategies to strengthen the city's workforce system and help workers to secure well-paying jobs in high demand careers.
A bid to shift the system's focus from quick placement into low wage jobs to emphasis on careers, the scope of Career Pathways is unprecedented. Also unclear is how the plan would change the career trajectory of those young adult New Yorkers who lack the skills to compete for jobs that pay living wage or stuck in low-wage jobs. One option for the City to consider is work being done by organizations like JobsFirstNYC to develop sector-based partnerships that may also be well-positioned to support certain constituents like young adults.
Given the scale, complexity, and duration of the challenges facing young adults in the labor market, we urge the City to formalize a position with respect to this important group and identify a vehicle that can help more of these young adults connect to training and educational opportunities, as well as to employers. JobsFirstNYC has proposed the creation of a network of Youth Opportunity Centers in the 18 communities that are home to more than half of the 35 Percent. The Youth Opportunity Centers—operated by community based organizations that are known and trusted by residents—could serve as the locus for a range of services to reconnect young adults to education, help them to develop career plans, and link them to training, internships, apprenticeship programs, and jobs. While the City's thoughtful and long-overdue reassessment of its approach deserves credit, it is much easier to release a report than to actually see through a years-long effort of systems change.
The recommendations made by the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force carry potential for real progress toward increasing the incomes of low-income New Yorkers, and represent an important start toward creating a workforce system worthy of the City it serves. NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a major shift in workforce development to better train New Yorkers for good-paying jobs and help secure job placements in fast-growing fields. Based on the Career Pathways report, the City will also replicate its Tech Talent Pipeline and New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH) across four other industries, with partnerships that provide real-time feedback on employer needs in growing sectors like modern manufacturing and construction. The task force will help shift the City’s approach to focus on employment for New Yorkers in skill-building, higher-wage jobs that offer opportunities for advancement, as opposed to job placement in low-paying sectors. The New York Community Trust and the NYC Workforce Funders are pleased to have a productive relationship with the City as we work together on this pressing issue.

Johnson is also the executive director of the GNYHA Foundation, which identifies grant-funding opportunities for individual institutional projects as well as collaborative projects that can serve common needs across multiple institutions.
Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, Torres-Springer served as the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where she oversaw the development and implementation of more than 100 initiatives designed to support innovation and entrepreneurship across all industries.
For this group, the shortcomings of New York City's workforce system bear depressing similarity to the drawbacks that marred their experiences in public education. The Task Force was assigned to make recommendations to spend the City's nearly $500 million workforce development budget more effectively. The recommendations would shift how the City spends more than $150 million annually and impact operations within no less than eight city agencies, including the Department of Education and the City University of New York, as well as hundreds of business owners and nonprofit organizations.
But the report does not address the structures or authority of these partnerships, nor does it identify what role nonprofits will play within this structure. The Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project, created by JobsFirstNYC and supported by private philanthropy, could serve as a primer for developing a broader array of industry-specific partnerships.
As the Mayor's Office of Workforce Development and key workforce agencies—including the NYC Department of Education, Department of Small Business Services and Human Resources Administration—begin to implement the recommendations of the Task Force, we urge them to engage a constellation of other actors who have experience in developing industrial partnerships (better known as sector partnerships), and career pathways training. Based on a report, Career Pathways, released today by the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force, the administration will invest in middle-skill job training for up to 30,000 people each year, prioritize good-paying full-time job placements at workforce agencies, and require companies doing business with the City to move New Yorkers to the front of the hiring line.
By better training New Yorkers for good-paying jobs and moving them to the front of the hiring line when we spend City dollars, we’re investing in the economic success of working families and our economy as a whole. The City is committed to leveraging that purchasing power to get more opportunities for New Yorkers. Key partners like the Greater New York Hospital Association, Etsy and AppNexus have signed on as participants in their respective fields. With our borough still facing significant unemployment and underemployment, and as we enter the challenges of the holiday season, the efforts of the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force could not be more timely. These efforts will help them better provide for themselves and their families and strengthen our economy as a whole. It’s about the effort being put into creating quality jobs that working families can depend on to build sustainable careers.
By organizing this task force and creating a Workforce Development Office, Mayor de Blasio is effectively addressing the challenges that confront working people in New York City. CLASP commends Mayor de Blasio for his leadership in connecting sector-based Industry Partnerships and Career Pathways to address the needs of workers, job seekers, and employers,” said David Socolow, Director of the Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, CLASP.
The Taskforce took a critical view of the current system and thoughtfully included known best practices to create a progressive vision for the most innovative system in the country,” said Melinda Mack, Executive Director of NYATEP. Providers have been telling me for years how difficult it is for them to align metrics from 10 different programs.

We have to incentivize that behavior change—and show how to make entry-level jobs themselves better, not just as a stepping stone. NYC Good Business will provide Hot Bread Kitchen with an innovative tool to identify new opportunities to nurture talent and tap the full potential of our business.
Connecting existing public and private resources in a strategic manner with the men and women that need the skills and opportunities is how Brooklyn and all of New York City can grow a stronger, more sustainable economic future for all,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. We applaud the Mayor for seeking advice from experts about the most effective ways the City can help low-skilled New Yorkers succeed in jobs and careers while growing our economy.
Jones Austin earned her law degree from Fordham University School of Law, a Master’s degree in Management and Policy from New York University Robert F. Torres-Springer has also served at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding as a senior policy advisor and as the Chief Operating Officer of Friends of the Highline. The task force identified two major organizing principles to enable this change: Industry Partnerships and Career Pathways. At JobsFirstNYC, we remain focused on advancing economic opportunity for all young New Yorkers.
There is tremendous opportunity through the City’s $500 million workforce development programs to equip more New Yorkers with skills for high-quality jobs that employers need to fill. The future of our city cannot be one of hardworking New Yorkers trapped in low wage jobs with no path upward. I commend the administration for working to create good jobs for all,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. We looking forward to sharing this tool with the businesses we incubate, too,” said Jessamyn Rodriguez, CEO and Founder of Hot Bread Kitchen at La Marqueta.
He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oneonta, where he majored in business economics. Exactly how the City will manage this complex transition from rapid attachment to career development is not discussed in the report. I want to commend Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to reducing inequality in our city and his vision for improving the lives of New Yorkers,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

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