Monday, March 18, 2013

New Strategy Paper: "Re-Envisioning the New York City Workforce System"


As the race heats up for the 2013 mayoral election, prominent local workforce practitioners -- including JobsFirstNYC's own Deputy Executive Director, Evelyn Fernandez-Ketcham -- have come together to propose real reforms for the next mayor to strengthen New York City's workforce system.

Entitled Re-Envisioning the New York City Workforce System, the document identifies structural reforms and concrete strategies to reshape the city's $400 million workforce system.  Below is the press release.  Visit the Re-Envisioning website, www.reenvisionworknyc.org, to access the full document or an executive summary, or to add your own endorsement to the recommendations. 
 
EXPERTS LAY OUT BLUEPRINT FOR NEXT MAYOR TO DELIVER ON PROMISE OF JOB CREATION BY REDESIGNING NEW YORK CITY'S WORKFORCE SYSTEM

"Our next mayor will have a unique opportunity to deliver on the promise of job creation, but only by redesigning our workforce system so that it serves the needs of workers and businesses."  -  Steven Dawson, New York City Workforce Strategy Group

(New York, NY-March 13, 2013) - The New York City Workforce Strategy Group released today a document entitled Re-Envisioning the New York City Workforce System that lays out an entirely new framework for how the next mayor of New York City could deliver on the promise of job creation, by redesigning the city's $400 million workforce system.  The 32-page document, which sets out redesign principles and architecture with ten concrete recommendations for a new workforce system, was created by some of the city's more experienced workforce practitioners and employers. The goal of the document is to present a vision of workforce development that can inspire debate among all mayoral candidates, and the public, leading up to New York City's Fall 2013 election.

With New York City's unemployment rate above 9%, the next mayor will need to make job creation for all New Yorkers a top priority. Job creation is driven by both economic development (helping start new companies and expand existing businesses), as well as workforce development (job training for workers as well as helping businesses access New York City's talent pool). The city can play a central role in supporting both-creating good jobs across all five boroughs.

Re-Envisioning the New York City Workforce System was created with support from the New York City Workforce Funders, a collaborative of funders that invests annually more than $50 million in the city's workforce system, and The Clark Foundation.  Members of the Workforce Strategy Group included practitioner, employer and union leaders from SEIU 1199, JobsFirstNYC, Per Scholas, PHI, LaGuardia Community College and others.

"Our next mayor will have a unique opportunity to deliver on the promise of job creation, but only by redesigning our workforce system so that it serves the needs of workers and businesses," said Steven Dawson, co-chair of the Workforce Strategy Group and strategic advisor to PHI, affiliated with a homecare employer in the South Bronx that employs 2,200 people. "He or she will have to address head-on the structural challenges of our current system with an integrated set of structural solutions.  We're calling for a 21st-Century labor-market driven workforce development system, built on ten solid recommendations." 

The recommendations set out in the Re-Envisioning document include, among others:   

  • Appoint a "job czar" who reports directly to the mayor. The job czar will oversee all workforce resources in the city under one office, bring accountability to workforce programs and coordinate a unified system for job creation with economic development agencies and organizations. 
  • Establish a network of nonprofit workforce partnerships responsible for coordinating funding streams and putting programs into practice.
  • Realign financing to reward long-term job outcomes, so that more workers stick with jobs once they are placed in them and learn the skills they need for jobs in growth industries.
  • Design a universal system of program assessment and information management, to eliminate redundancy and help programs make informed decisions about what works to create jobs.
  • Create a formal Council of Workforce Advisors made up of foundations, businesses, unions and non-profit organizations to advise the mayor on creating a 21st-Century training and employment system for all five boroughs of New York City.  

"Every year, foundations, unions, government agencies and non-profit organizations spend more than $400 million on workforce development programs," said David LaGreca, co-chair of the Strategy Group and executive director of VCG Governance Matters, which strengthens nonprofits by creating stronger boards of directors. "Yet despite these resources, workers and businesses often get lost in a bureaucratic shuffle, with dozens of agencies and organizations working at cross purposes. There is very little accountability and coordination-or even shared data. We can and must do better."

Workforce development is a critical yet overlooked factor in job creation and retention, with programs that help workers and employers in the following ways:   

  • Job training - teaching workers skills they need for jobs in growth industries
  • Worker / Employer matching - connecting the right worker with the right employer
  • Employee support - helping workers keep jobs and be successful in them
  • Career development - providing new, on-the-job skills to benefit both workers and employers 
  • Job redesign - re-thinking how workers can become more efficient and productive  

"Our current workforce system, though improved over the past few years, is still siloed in its funding and fragmented in program delivery," said Evelyn Fernandez-Ketcham, a member of the Strategy Group and Deputy Executive Director of JobsFirst NYC, which brings out-of-school and out-of-work young adults into the economic life of New York City.  "The mayoral candidates are not alone in failing to understand what an asset the workforce system can be.  We hope our Re-Envisioning document shows clearly how the next mayor could make the changes needed and be supported by an invested philanthropic leadership and a creative workforce community.  We stand ready to assist." 

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Members of the New York City Workforce Strategy Group are available to discuss the Re-Envisioning document.  Please contact Geoffrey Knox at 212-229-0540 and gknox@geoffreyknox.com. 

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