Dear New Yorker,
Comprised of private sector executives, representatives of organized labor, foundation leaders, nonprofit officials, advocates, and veteran public servants, the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force represents constituencies that are heavily invested in making the City’s workforce system function as effectively as possible. The organizations we represent engage with workforce programs as customers, partners, worker representatives, contractors, and funders.
All of us aspire to build a city in which our education and training systems support economic growth and mobility for workers and help businesses access the talent they need to grow. Drawing upon our experiences, we sought to understand the challenges facing the system both philosophically and operationally. To put it another way, the essential questions we took up were: are we pursuing the right goals? and are we investing in effective programs?
The conclusion we drew was that the system requires a profound change in both its basic orientation and how it functions. To be sure, the City made substantial gains over the last decade, successfully placing New Yorkers into employment at scale for the first time and winning unprecedented credibility with employers.
Additionally, a number of promising initiatives emerged to help address deeper challenges around employer engagement and skill development. In our various roles, many Task Force members contributed to these advances.
It is time to take the next step and move away from a strategy of simple job placement to one that builds the skills that advance careers and increase earning potential for our city’s working men and women. Done well, this approach will improve economic mobility for New Yorkers, and benefit employers by providing a deeper pool of trained talent to strengthen their enterprises. A second and equal focus, consistent with the goals of the de Blasio administration, will be to engage employers and share information that will improve stability, working conditions, and opportunities for sustainable careers for the more than one million New Yorkers in low-wage jobs, while reducing turnover and slowing the churn at the low end of the labor market.
We also determined that the City’s diverse set of workforce programs must break with established practice and function as a true system. As jobseekers, employers, contractors, funders, and service providers, many of us have struggled with the disconnection across agencies and programs. To truly move forward and achieve the objectives noted above, we must develop common goals, communication tools, and information sharing systems. And we must better connect our workforce system to our city’s economic development activities, so that all New Yorkers can benefit from growth and opportunity.
We feel strongly that the key strategies detailed in this report—creating Industry Partnerships to serve high-priority sectors and shifting to a Career Pathways framework to align the different pieces of the system—are the right steps to effectuate these changes.
On behalf of the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force, we are proud to present our recommendations to reorient and transform New York City’s system of workforce development services. We are grateful to Mayor Bill de Blasio for the opportunity to engage in this important work, and eagerly look forward to a continued partnership with the City to bring this vision to life.
Vincent Alvarez, NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Carlo Frappolli, JP Morgan Chase
Leo Hindery, Jr., InterMedia Partners
Patricia Jenny, New York Community Trust
Tim Johnson, Greater New York Hospital Association
Jennifer Jones Austin, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
Angie Kamath, Per Scholas
John Mogulescu, City University of New York