Thursday, October 5, 2017

As JobsFirstNYC Marks Its 10th Year Our Mission Remains, the Work Evolves

Message from Marjorie Parker, JobsFirstNYC President & CEO

I am pleased and honored to have been appointed as the President & CEO of JobsFirstNYC. In my more than 25 years working in the field wearing many hats in direct service, government, education and other areas, I have had the distinct opportunity to learn from cross-industry stakeholders and have gained a clear insight into challenges our ecosystem faces in developing and implementing an integrated approach that can best benefit the communities we work to support. I plan to continue our mission to find effective, sustainable solutions and collaborate with our Board of Directors and JobsFirstNYC team to build on the work of my predecessors, Lou Miceli and David Nidus.

Our journey over the last ten years has seen challenges, no different from many startups, but our focus on the mission has been persistent. Born out of a crisis in 2006, when more than 220,000 New Yorkers aged 16–24 were out of school and not working, workforce development stakeholders across New York City gathered to reimagine systems-level solutions that will reconnect young adults to economic opportunities. To do this, a new kind of mechanism was needed that would collaborate with service providers, policymakers, philanthropic investors, and employers to develop community-responsive partnerships to achieve better outcomes for the young adults who were structurally left behind. JobsFirstNYC originated from a business plan prepared with support from the New York City Workforce Funders and the Tiger Foundation, and with lead investments from Tiger and The Clark Foundation, we launched in 2007 as the first intermediary of its kind in New York City.

Often plagued with the question, “What is an intermediary?,” since we are neither a direct service provider nor a funder, we have spent a decade creating and collaborating a body of work that now defines what we do. Our work is built on the framework of a classic community organizing principle—the whole is greater than the sum of its parts—that no one institution alone can make long-term, effective and sustainable change. This approach is informed by data, driven by results, and centered around partnerships that align community resources to achieve greater outcomes. We have proven the success of this strategy through initiatives like the Bronx Opportunity Network (BON), Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN), and Youth Workforce Initiative Network of Staten Island (WINS) and others.

As many of our initiatives continue to mature and their return on investment become clearer, our capacity to transform—through systems change—the opportunity pipeline for young adults and the communities they live in continues to evolve as well. Our field defining reports, such as Barriers to Entry and Unleashing the Economic Power of the 35 Percent, have helped to articulate the challenges young adults face in New York City and have been critical in laying out a core set of strategies to improve the economic mobility of young adults. More specifically, our commitment to scaling best practices through policy is demonstrated in JobsFirstNYC’s Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project (YASEP), where some partners have recently been granted resources to sustain the work by receiving support through the federally funded Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA)
Over the last 10 years, we have learned that building more inclusive communities requires a different approach, one that disrupts the norm and shows that communities themselves are well situated to be the change they seek; an approach that allows them to discover and develop the solutions that work for them, to be their own engine of change. Over the next 10 years, our mission will remain, as our work evolves. We will engage in deeper analysis of community needs and introduce our successful capabilities to communities that invite us in and can benefit from our approach. We are committed to empowering communities to help them uncover the key to spark neighborhood-based economic growth and security. We will do what we have done since our inception, build partnerships across economic, workforce and community development systems to effect large-scale sustainable changes to solve endemic problems.

The world has changed drastically since our founding, but one thing has remained constant, the communities that we serve have struggled to achieve sustainable economic progress and social stability. Our role and our passion is to continue to develop and work on effective strategies that can result in long-term economic stability for those who live in under-resourced neighborhoods.
Join us and inform the next leg of our journey towards working with these communities to find sustainable solutions. We want to hear from you. Tell us what you would like to see JobsFirstNYC doing over the next 5–10 years by taking this short five question survey.


Marjorie Parker
President & CEO

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities

There are many barriers that prevent people living with disabilities from accessing the employment market, most are often based on misconceptions of a disabled person’s abilities. As a labor pool, people with disabilities are a source of reliable workers, regardless of the nature of their disability.

 Jennifer Mizrahi, President of RespectAbility
On July 31, 2017, RespectAbility hosted From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities, a conference in Washington, D.C. RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with entertainment, policy makers, educators, self-advocates, and online media to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. The summit’s central focus was on bridging the gap between entertainment, politics and disability advocacy. Featured guests included: Casting Director and Producer Leah Daniels-Butler, the One-Arm Golfer Tommy Morrissey, and Food Network host Marc Summers. The event was a celebration of the positive impact made by efforts to end stigmas and advance opportunities for the 57 million people living with disabilities. President of RespectAbility Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi — self-proclaimed “twice able” dyslexic and parent to a child with multiple disabilities — gave the opening remarks.

The summit examined the positive impact people living with disabilities could have on a business’s bottom-line. People with disabilities bring unique characteristics and talents to the workplace, which benefit both employers and organizations. RespectAbility argued, “If we find the right jobs for the right people with [disabilities], it can and does increase the bottom line of companies.” 

Leah Daniels-Butler who is most notable for casting the award-winning film, Lee Daniels' The Butler and television’s Empire, shared why she is hopeful about the future of inclusive casting and the workplace in general, “There is a new generation pushing the disability movement forward. [Young people] are removing the stigma and are thinking differently.”

When asked by a member of the audience what advice he would give to a person with a disability trying to get into the entertainment industry, Steven James Tingus, National Disability Policy Expert and Actor answered, “Do your homework and be persistent, and get in the right way.” What exactly is the right way? Tingus added, “You work hard and start from the bottom at an entry level position and work your way up. That’s how you do it.” In essence, show up and show your value.

Leah Daniels Butler, Casting Diretor; Steven James Tingus, Actor
Disparities in employment, income and poverty are greater for people with disabilities living in New York City than they are at the State or National level. In New York City, there are 889,219 individuals with disabilities; that is, 11.0 percent of the population. The Bronx has the highest percentage of people living with disabilities in the five boroughs of New York City, while Manhattan and Staten Island have the highest numbers of people with disabilities. The employment gap between people with and without disabilities who are working is 41 percent and median earnings for people with disabilities lag more than $25,000 behind. Since stigma continues to impede the hiring of people with disabilities, employers must take action to improve the work environment. Ollie Cantos the highest-ranking blind person in the federal government, noted that we “must address disability diversity policies” and practices in order for people living with disability to see real change.

Ollie Cantos, Government Attorney
“People with disabilities have the ability to adapt to different situations and circumstances perhaps better than any other group and have long proven themselves to be dependable employees,” said Marc Summers, who has been the National Spokesperson for the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation and has appeared on Oprah, the Today Show and Dateline discussing the issue. Summers stated that his OCD made him persistent, nothing, not even hundreds of rejections would stop me.” 

Marc Summers, TV Personalty 

People with disabilities have fresh ideas on how to solve problems and complete assigned tasks. Brilynn Rakes, a visually-impaired dancer and RespectAbility Communications Fellow, is working on changing the existing narrative in Hollywood to ensure accurate and positive cultural media portrayals of people with disabilities. Rakes, who has performed works by Donald MyKayle, Christopher Huggins and Jose Limon, and was invited to participate in the New York City Finals of the International Ballet Competition and Youth American Grand Prix in 2012 and 2013, described how she learned to find her balance by utilizing her peripheral vision. Rakes said, “my balance is just as good as the elite professional dancers in the business.”

Tommy Morrissey, the 11-year-old one-arm Golfer — despite being born without most of his right arm — at the age of three was deemed a golf prodigy, and today travels the world advocating for other limb different children. Tommy’s father said, “My son is creating records, not breaking them!” 

Lauren Appelbaum, Director of Communications;
Jennifer Mizrahi, President of RespectAbility;
Darren Cole JobsFirstNYC 
RespectAbility’s From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities highlighted the untapped value of people living with disabilities and seems to be paving the way for more businesses to add people with disabilities to the diversity conversation and talent pipelines.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Adapting to the Future of Work - Summary & Highlights

With recent changes in technology, including a heavy uptick in automation and the proliferation in machine-learning, the employment landscape has undergone profound changes. As a result, young people are adapting to new realities of the workplace and rethinking the skills they need to compete.

JobsFirstNYC’s annual Adapting to the Future of Work: Skills for Tomorrow’s Economy, held on July 20, 2017, brought together more than 200 young New Yorkers to discuss the changing economy, future workforce trends, and economic equity. In partnership with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and Young Invincibles, we heard from panelists about internal talent pipeline development, multi-sector partnerships, employer engagement, possible evolutions of the nonprofit, and the ever-changing on-demand economy. All of our panels and speakers grounded their message in how to leverage different resources to best help out-of-school, out-of-work 16- to 24-year-olds access economic opportunities. The convening provided an opportunity to reflect, share experiences, perspectives and responses to the changing economy and at the same time give thought to understanding and preparing for the future.

Marjorie Parker opens the session

The convening highlighted the skills that are essential in today’s changing job market. Given the state of the economy, mixed livelihoods and self-employment are dominating the scene. Entrepreneurship is often born out of necessity. Young people need marketable skills and inspiring role models with whom to engage. The conference made clear that 21st century young people in New York City see the changes in the job market and are deeply curious about the skills they need to succeed. Adapting to the Future of Work is an important step in JobsFirstNYC’s path towards boosting youth employment by identifying the challenges and opportunities facing young people. We provide a space for young people to discuss the abstract concepts that have a very real implication on their future of work.

In her opening message, JobsFirstNYC’s Executive Director, Marjorie Parker, warned that the traditional idea of a job is shifting. We are moving towards an economy with more gig-based, precarious-employment options where people are hired to do work, get a project done, and be ready to move on as the business’s needs change. Parker went on to add that this conference — convened for the future talent of New York City — was designed to build upon lessons learned from last year's convening, thereby expanding the dialogue beyond merely what the future of work might look like into how to shape what it could and should be.

Derrius Quarles delivers his keynote

Building off of Marjorie Parker's opening, Derrius Quarles delivered our keynote address. Quarles is an unapologetic social entrepreneur, web designer, and author who secured over $1 million dollars in scholarship awards before entering Morehouse College where he graduated cum laude. The entrepreneur and author of Million Dollar Scholar spoke about overcoming obstacles and positioning oneself for success in this ever-changing job market. Addressing the mindset required to succeed in an economy driven by innovation and skills that will assist the attendees in becoming indispensable to potential employers, Quarles set the positive tone for the panelists and speakers to follow.

From right to left: Hannah Dehradunwala, Coss Marte, Rachel Cargle, Tony Gaston

The morning panel focused on Skills for Tomorrow’s Economy and featured Rachel Cargle, an entrepreneur, activist and writer, and Founder and CEO of The Loveland Group and Co-Founder of The Ripple, who spoke about empowerment, networking and the advancement of women and girls worldwide; Coss Marte, a former federal inmate, and founder of ConBody spoke about how he did not let his past mistakes get between him and success; and Hannah Dehradunwala, Co-Founder and CEO of Transfernation, spoke about her tech-based solution to hunger and food waste in New York City. The panel was moderated by Tony Gaston, Senior Manger of Business Solutions, Per Scholas New York, and lifted up examples of successful young entrepreneurs and the skills they applied to get where they are for the audience to consider as they plan out their long-term career paths.

Commissioner Bill Chong welcomes young people to the lunch session

Our afternoon session kicked off by Commissioner Bill Chong of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, who welcomed the young adults back from their morning workshops Commissioner Chong has more than 25 years in senior management positions in the nonprofit sector and the City, State and Federal governments, and he spoke to the experiences that lead him to his appointment as Commissioner of DYCD.

From right to left: Carmon De La Rosa, Tremaine Wright, Kevin Stump

The discussion continued with a panel discussion with New York State Assembly members Carmon De La Rosa of Assembly District 72 and Tremaine Wright of Assembly District 56 that was moderated by Kevin Stump, the Northeast Director of Young Invincibles. That conversation was followed by a panel focused on Opportunity Youth United: Identity, Advocacy, and Your Career, and featured Lashon Amado, Kimberly Pham, and Teresa Rivera representing the National Council of Young Leaders, and Jacob Patterson, the Founder of Gender Talk, and was moderated by Jamiel Alexander, a Senior Fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions and a member of the National Council of Young Leaders as well.

From right to left: Jacob Patterson, Jamiel Alexander, Kim Pham, Teresa Rivera, and Lashon Amada

Both panels came at the same question from different angles, specifically what are ways young adults can ensure their voices are heard and their priorities considered by their local elected officials and policy makers? Opportunity Youth United discussed this as career advocates, whereas the Assembly members spoke from their perspective on what has helped to shape their opinions. The session was closed by Najee Omar, a Spoken word artist, Educator and Founder of Spark House artfully articulated the struggles facing young people, the importance of living in one’s truth, and equity as it relates to the future of work.

Spoken word artist Najee Omar takes a bow

Our breakout sessions gave young people an opportunity to interact in smaller groups and learn from amazing educators. Our “Employment and the Future of Work” workshops included:
  • Growing Your Skills for the Green Economy, a workshop looking at sustainable or green career paths, was offered by Green City Force’s Mara Cerezo, Senior Program Officer; Aram Marcelle, Career and Alumni Services Manager; and Stephanie Klocke, Career and Alumni Services Manager; 
  • Digital Bootstrapping: Solution to Tech’s Diversity Issue, considered ways that you can apply your personal experience to tap an untapped market in the digital age and was taught by The Knowledge House’s Joe Carrano, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer; 
  • Authenticity: Leveraging Your Unique Identity as a Competitive Advantage in Today’s Workforce, explored ways to analyze and navigate different company cultures and was offered by Made in Brownsville’s Albert N. Kakudji, Chief Operating Officer; and 
  • From Uber to TaskRabbit: Find Gigs, Make Money, and Launch Your Career, delivered by Samaschool’s Jen Curry, Director, NYC, gave attendees the breakdown on the gig economy, how to start using it to make some extra money, and how to leverage that additional job experience to land a full-time career. 

The afternoon breakout sessions tackled, “Advocacy, Equity, and the Future of Work” and included
  • #QueerAF: Loving and Protecting Ourselves, a workshop claiming a healing space for queer folks and allies in the audience, was put together by Jacob Patterson, Founder of Gender Talk
  • Know Your Rights as a Young Adult Immigrant, offered tools to the immigrant community for dealing with ICE in the current political environment and was put on by Make the Road New York and delivered by Suzanne Del Rosario, Intern; 
  • Think 2040: Can a Shift in the Rules Help Change the Future of Our Economy? by The Roosevelt Institute’s Aman Banerji, Senior Program Associate, examined how a shift in the rules could help change the future of our economy; and 
  • Know Your Rights, Youth Represent’s staple workshop laying out a guide to what’s legal and what isn’t for employers to ask you when you’re on the interview – especially if you have experience with the criminal justice system – was delivered by Eric Eingold, Staff Attorney. 

Finally, we would like to thank everyone who attended Adapting to the Future of Work: Skills for Tomorrow Economy, as well as, all of our presenters, partners, funders, and young people who made this event possible. We look forward to our next event with all of you as we work towards expanding opportunities for out-of-school, out-of-work young New Yorkers. If you were unable to join us this time, we look forward to seeing you next year for our 2018 Adapting to the Future of Work convening.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NYATEP Seeks Employer Survey Respondents

With the rise of apprenticeship programming in the public spotlight, the New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals (NYATEP) is seeking feedback directly from New York State employers in four sectors outside of the traditional union-led apprenticeships, for their opinions of apprenticeship as a training option.  As the state’s workforce association, they believe collecting information versus working off of anecdotes will be critical as this program expands federally and across the State. To that end, they are collecting data on the perceived barriers held by employers to accessing and registering an apprenticeship program in New York State. The goal is to use this information to recommend policy and programmatic improvements to the NYS Apprenticeship program.

NYATEP has released a survey of employer perceptions about apprenticeship. In order to help ensure they get the kind of data they need, we're asking you to reach out to your employer partners and board members in Advanced Manufacturing, Bio-technology, Technology and Telecommunications and ask them to fill out the survey. It will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. 

NYATEP asks that all responses be sent in by August 15th. All responses will be kept confidential, however they plan to circulate the aggregate results to partners in the field.  Thus they're asking that you feel free to forward this email along to other partners or industry associations in your network. The more responses they get the better!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

JobsFirstNYC is Hiring!

Executive-level Position focused on Employer Engagement and Economic Development Practice

This executive level position is a key, visible, leadership position within the organization. The executive will be responsible for identifying, cultivating, and engaging with employers, business leaders, business intermediary organizations, and economic development initiatives in a structural rather than transactional manner in order to accelerate and advance JobsFirstNYC’s goals and objectives.

The suitable candidate for this role will provide strategic, forward-looking/thinking cultivation and management of employer partnerships, constituent engagement, and practice management, with a dual focus on expanding employer engagement, enhancement of business management, and promoting sustainable economic practices. The overall performance standard for this position is the direct evidence of employer involvement – and the measurable impact of this involvement in service of the overarching institutional agenda. The optimal candidate will bring a rich array of resources and connections to the role, and will be able to readily leverage these, in addition to JobsFirstNYC’s connections, to build and strengthen employer engagement and sustainable economic practice. 

Competencies: Communication Skills – Clearly and persuasively communicate, listen and seek clarifications; participate in meetings, write clearly and informatively, comfortable with public speaking. Professionalism – Work well in a fast-paced environment. Understand business implications of decisions, align work with strategic goals, and develop strategies to achieve organizational goals. Teamwork – Balances team and individual responsibilities; Exhibits objectivity and openness to others’ views; Contributes to building a positive team spirit; Able to build morale and group commitments to goals and objectives; Displays passion and optimism.

Qualifications: Minimum of a BA, MA in a relevant discipline preferred. Ten years of professional experience in economic development and/or employer cultivation engagement to include corporate recruiting, human resources, and career development. Strong knowledge of the NYC workforce and economic development systems. Exemplary written and verbal communications skills, and relationship management skills. Contemporary knowledge of career trends and market demand; employer relations and cultivation. Private sector/business leadership experience preferred. Ability to manage multiple tasks and competing priorities.

To apply for this position, please send a letter of intent and a resume in PDF format only to:

JobsFirstNYC provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, JobsFirstNYC complies with all applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Beyond the Double Bottom Line: Building Value through Employer Networks

Significant and ongoing changes in the labor market mean that effective workforce strategies must involve new collaborative structures to engage employers more deeply. In order to improve the effectiveness of the workforce system and to improve outcomes for young people engaging with that system, we must turn to new innovations that more effectively address employer's concerns. A promising shift is the establishment of employer-informed or led networks, often supported by workforce or employer intermediaries that can be adaptive both to supply and demand-side needs, and that can incorporate employers as partners in the structure. 

We gathered on June 6th with six national experts representing several cities and several approaches to developing such networks who shared their wisdom, their candor, and their expertise as they endeavor to create or refine such efforts in their own communities. 

The presenters included:
  • Alan Momeyer, Chief Human Resource Officer Emeritus, The Loews Corporation (moderator)
  • Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend, President and CEO, Philadelphia Youth Network
  • David Garza, Executive Director and CEO, Henry Street Settlement
  • Alysia Ordway, Employer Engagement Director, Boston Private Industry Council
  • Liddy Romero, Founder and Executive Director, WorkLife Partnership
  • Robert Sainz, Assistant General Manager at the City of Los Angeles Department of Community Development

These leaders presented a range of considerations for the development and maintenance of employer networks, and how they are learning from their experiences to refine and strengthen their approaches to the work. Though each presenter had a slightly different context for their practice, their perspectives wove a clear through line that effective employer engagement strategies are absolutely essential for the future of our field, and the totality of their perspectives ultimately generated a conversation that was both thought-provoking and inspiring.

In order to best capture the experience, we have put together the following Storify highlighting some of our favorite tweets and posts focusing on the event

Monday, June 5, 2017

Raise the Age: New York’s Recent Juvenile Justice Reforms

No area of domestic policy...has been so thoroughly abandoned to misinformation, overstatement, over-simplification, emotion and disregard for consequences as has the area of juvenile justice.” – Douglas Nelson, Annie E. Casey Foundation

In our work as an intermediary bringing together organizations and resources to reduce the number of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults in New York City, one concern nearly always gets raised no matter the topic of the meeting: how do we help young people with a criminal record find a job?

The sad truth is that too many young people find themselves in court at some point, usually for minor nonviolent offenses. Once, these transgressions might never have been known beyond the courthouse walls. In the digital age, however, a conviction for even the $2.75 crime of jumping a subway turnstile – officially New York State penal law 165.15 “Theft of Services,” a Class A misdemeanor – will appear on background checks forever. Given the stigma of a criminal record to employers, having to check YES to the dreaded “Have you been convicted of a crime?” question can be enough to deter a young person from even applying for a job. Even worse, exposure to the adult criminal system can traumatize young adults and lead to additional, not less, antisocial behavior.

Thankfully, change is coming for New York's older teens. Recently enacted legislation will dramatically overhaul the way New York State handles teenagers who have been charged with a crime. The state budget signed into law on April 10, 2017, includes provisions that will, by October 2019, transfer most criminal cases involving 16- and 17-year-olds out of the adult system and into Family Court.

New York’s “Raise the Age” legislation will be phased in over the next two years, with 16-year-olds eligible for the new process starting October 1, 2018, and 17-year-olds one year later. Once implemented, the law mandates:

  • Increased parental notification and involvement in arrest and questioning.
  • All misdemeanor cases will be heard in Family Court, following sentencing practices under the Family Court Act. Convictions will not result in a permanent criminal record.
  • All felony cases will start in a new Youth Part of the adult criminal court.
  • Non-violent felonies will transfer automatically to Family Court unless the District Attorney files a motion showing “extraordinary circumstances” within 30 days.
  • Violent felonies may transfer to Family Court under certain circumstances.
  • Those 16- and 17-year-olds whose cases remain in the Youth Part of the adult court will be referred to as “Adolescent Offenders,” and judges must take age into account when sentencing. Family Court judges will preside over Youth Part cases.
  • No one under the age of 18 will be sentenced to or detained in a facility with adults. Any detention will occur in OCFS-monitored facilities specifically designed for youth.
  • Adult court convictions for eligible offenses can be sealed after ten years from the imposition of the sentence or discharge from incarceration, whichever is latest.

Together, these changes will ensure that New York’s teenagers are spared most of the long-term consequences of an adult conviction. Raise the Age NY, an advocacy campaign instrumental in passage of the new law, has prepared a full summary of its key components.

These changes have been a long time coming. In recent years, New York has been just one of two states (along with North Carolina) that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. Like older adults, those teens are tried by county District Attorneys and serve their sentence in adult correctional facilities. And the numbers are not insignificant. In 2016, nearly 25,000 16- and 17-year-old New Yorkers were arrested, the vast majority on misdemeanor (70%) and non-violent felony (16%) charges.

Mandatory adult trials for adolescents dates back to the 1970s, a reaction to the rising tide of violent crime then plaguing New York City and other urban areas. Teens who ran afoul of the law had traditionally gone to juvenile court, with its primary focus on treatment and reintegration over lengthy punishment. As media portrayals of young offenders as irredeemable “superpredators” came to dominate the public imagination, however, calls for harsher sentencing grew increasingly louder.

(The hysteria over teen crime reached peaked in 1989 with Time magazine's inflammatory coverage of the infamous Central Park jogger rape case entitled “Wilding in The Night: A Brutal Gang Rape in New York City Triggers Fears that the U.S. is Breeding a Generation of Merciless Children.” The five juveniles sent to prison for that attack spent between 6 and 13 years behind bars until a confession and DNA evidence from a serial rapist and murderer proved their innocence; New York City ultimately paid out $41 million for wrongful imprisonment.)

New York State’s Juvenile Offender Act of 1978 pioneered adult treatment of young offenders. In addition to automatically transferring 16- and 17-year-olds to the adult system, the law made it possible for children as young as 13 to be tried in criminal court for serious crimes. (The Citizens Crime Commission of New York City has prepared a detailed guide to the current New York juvenile justice system.) By the late 1990s, every state and the District of Columbia had followed New York’s lead in adopting some form of transfer law for teenage offenders.

The shift from juvenile to adult prosecution has come with serious consequences. According to Raise the Age NY, studies show that young people transferred to the adult system are:

  • 34% more likely to be rearrested for violent and other crimes
  • Twice as likely to be beaten by staff and 50% more likely to be attacked with a weapon
  • At the highest risk of any age group for sexual assault
  • Less likely to receive rehabilitative services
  • More likely to be placed in solitary confinement, with long-term impacts on mental and physical health
  • 36 times more likely to commit suicide while in custody.

As the New York Times puts it, “Convictions at this age often are the harbingers of derailed lives: 84 percent of young adults released from prison will be rearrested within 5 years. Few with felony convictions will be able to find jobs.”

Advancements in neuroscience over the past two decades and growing recognition of the lifelong impacts of a criminal record have called into question the wisdom of adult punishments for older teens. In particular, MRI research into psychosocial maturity – impulsivity, risk perception, thrill-seeking, resistance to peer influence – shows that development of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may not be fully complete until the early 20s, making self-control in stressful or threatening situations especially difficult.

With crime rates falling since the late 1990s, the majority of states have been rethinking the desirability of adult sentencing for young offenders. In the past decade, several significant U.S. Supreme Court rulings have limited the application of the death penalty and unconditional life imprisonment to young offenders. Local municipalities have also been experimenting with better ways to address young adult crime. San Francisco’s Young Adult Court, which opened in 2015 and hears cases involving offenders ages 18–25, provides social services and a reduction in charges if the offender successfully completes the program. New York City’s Center for Court Innovation, a nonprofit that works with the New York State Court System, operates specialized youth courts in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Harlem. Numerous nonprofit organizations have formed or expanded to serve the needs of court-involved youth.

In New York City, free legal advice for court involved youth can be obtained through organizations like and Youth Represent. The New York City Young Men’s Initiative maintains a directory of supportive services for at-risk youth.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Place-Based Initiative: Bedford-Stuyvesant

On Tuesday, April 18th JobsFirstNYC partnered with Council Member Robert Cornegy's office to hold a town hall meeting for workforce providers and stakeholders focused on District 36, comprised of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn exploring workforce and career options for out-of-school, out-of-work young adults in the District. JobsFirstNYC found that Bedford-Stuyvesant continues to be one of the 18 communities in NYC with the highest concentration of out-of-work, out-of-school young adults. First identified in our 2013 publication, Barriers to Entry,and again in our 2017 our briefing, "Declines in New York City's Out-of-School, Out-of-Work Young Adult Population...But Numbers Remain High", the community now ranks as number two on the list. Although Bedford-Stuyvesant has experienced overall economic improvements, these numbers remain stubbornly high and an intervention is necessary to ensure the young people of the district benefit from the development it is undergoing.

This town hall, the first of a number planned for 2017, featured presentations by Council Member Cornegy; Stefani Zinerman, the Council Member's Chief of Staff; the JobsFirstNYC team; Lazar Treschan, Director of Youth Policy at the Community Service Society, and a panel featuring Oma Holloway, Director of Community Engagement for MYBASE at Bridge Street Development Corporation and Chair of the Education and Youth Services Committee for Brooklyn Community Board 3; Doriga Alves, Vice President of Career Management for the Transportation Diversity Council; and Roger Green, Professor, Medgar Evers College and Coalition to Transform Interfaith Medical Center. 

JobsFirstNYC's Place-Based Initiatives focus on creating access to economic opportunities through the development of collaborative, local-level partnerships between community-based organizations, educational institutions, businesses, government, and other stakeholders to improve connections to jobs, strengthen local relationships, align community improvement strategies, and leverage resources across all systems to improve the lives of young adults who are out of school and out of work.

Over the last ten years, JobsFirstNYC has partnered with local communities to develop and sustain several place-based partnerships, including employer-facing networks to improve the way workforce organizations engage with and provide services to employers and college access networks to increase college enrollment and completion. One of the earliest examples of this strategy is best represented through the Lower East Side Employment Network, but others also include Youth WINS in Staten Island and the myriad of sector-based partnerships presently operating through the Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project. In the Bronx, we have been working to improve college completion rates for young people through the Bronx Opportunity Network.

Friday, April 21, 2017

JobsFirstNYC Announces New Executive Director

The JobsFirstNYC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that after three years of leadership in the role of deputy executive director, Marjorie Parker has been appointed as Executive Director of JobsFirstNYC, effective July 1, 2017. Over the course of her career, Marjorie has held leadership roles in nonprofit, government, and management consulting. During her time at JobsFirstNYC, Marjorie has overseen the implementation of several major initiatives, spearheading the organization’s partnership development, policy and advocacy efforts, and employer engagement work. The board of directors and staff have long admired her passion, focus, professionalism, and informed counsel on the organization’s mission to connect young adults to the economic life of New York City.

“As JobsFirstNYC enters our tenth year, we could not have a more principled and thoughtful leader to direct the next phase of our work. Over the past three years, we have experienced the weight of Marjorie’s commitment and determination. Marjorie’s strong ties to local communities, deep understanding of economic and workforce development, and unwavering dedication to young adults makes her the right leader to harness the potential of the organization,” said Alan Momeyer, JobsFirstNYC’s Board Chair.

“I thank the board of directors for the immense honor to lead JobsFirstNYC. This organization has remained steadfast in its commitment to young adults and to the field,” said Marjorie Parker. “Through support from Lou [Miceli], the team here, and many of you, I am excitedly looking ahead. In my role, I will continue our work of improving economic and educational outcomes for young adults by supporting successful practices, developing innovative newapproaches, and collaborating closely with the field to create community- and systems-level change.”

JobsFirstNYC was established in 2007 by private funders to improve workforce prospects for young adults. JobsFirstNYC has become a national leader in expanding employer-driven approaches in New York City through the Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project and the Lower East Side Employment Network, among others, always in partnership with innovative direct service providers. The organization has expanded and adapted these efforts through a place-based, partnership-driven approach to engaging and effectively serving young adults in under-resourced communities like the North Shore of Staten Island, Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx. Regular policy, research and practice briefs like 
Innovations in the Field: the Bronx Opportunity Network and Optimizing Talent: The Promise and the Perils of Adapting Sectoral Strategies for Young Workers continue to highlight innovative approaches for improving outcomes for young adults. The Board of JobsFirstNYC is committed to continuing this important work under new leadership.

“Early and energetic employer engagement often gets too little attention in job training programs,” says Rick Smith of the Pinkerton Foundation. “JobsFirstNYC clearly understands the importance of involving employers from the start, and thanks to its efforts, many of our grantees are making real progress and producing real results for the young people they serve. We look forward to continuing our work with Marjorie and her team to build on those accomplishments.”

JobsFirstNYC was created, in part, to improve the way in which young adult workforce organizations serve both young people and employers. Certainly, through its various initiatives and programs, the organization has had a substantial and lasting impact on how workforce organizations go about their important work. We look forward to seeing how, under new leadership, the organization will continue to build on its successes,” says Charles Buice of the Tiger Foundation.

“We at JPMorgan Chase are pleased to have a productive partnership with JobsFirstNYC as we work together to strengthen the workforce field and to further align job training, economic development, and employer engagement efforts in New York City, and notably in places like the Bronx where rates of young adult disconnection remain stubbornly high,” said Jennie Sparandara, JPMorgan Chase Global Philanthropy.

“It’s been a tremendously rewarding experience to work at JobsFirstNYC and a privilege to collaborate with colleagues here and in the broader field. I am excited for the skills Marjorie brings to this work and for the next phase of the organization’s growth. I know I leave JobsFirstNYC in excellent hands,” stated Lou Miceli, who has served in the executive role since 2010. Lou will remain through June 30, 2017 and is assuming a promising new leadership role at a new organization in the fall.

We hope you will join us in congratulating Marjorie Parker. We look forward to hearing from you and learning from you in the coming weeks and months as Marjorie begins in her new role and continues to engage the field.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

What the President's Proposed Budget Would Mean for Young New Yorkers

The President’s FY 2018 Budget Blueprint: Implications for Workforce Development and Education in New York 

Last week, the White House released its budget blueprint for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The blueprint proposed budget cuts for federal spending on many of the education and workforce programs currently serving young New Yorkers. Additionally, it proposes cuts for several other New York City services that severely impact the economic prospects of young people and low-income residents in our city.

President Trump proposes a 21 percent decrease in funding to the Department of Labor (DOL).  According to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Democratic staff, this decrease in DOL funding would mean a 35 percent decrease in funding for job training and other employment services. A funding decrease of this magnitude would result in the loss of 140,000 employment training slots, as well as 5-7 million American workers and jobseekers losing access to supportive services, such as career counseling and case management. If these cuts extend to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grants to States (which support many of our state’s current programs for out-of-school young adults and sectoral programs), New York would have funding for 158,415 fewer WIOA participant slots than in FY 2017. Other workforce related proposals include:
  • Eliminating the Commerce Department’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, which saved small- and medium-sized manufacturers in New York State more than $48 million dollars and helped them hire or retain more than 3,500 workers in 2015. The president also proposes to eliminate the Economic Development Administration (EDA) program grants and discretionary funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund both of which provide vital funding to create jobs, support small businesses, and expand economic opportunity in under-resourced communities in New York. Small businesses make up 99 percent of all businesses in New York State.
  • Eliminating funding to the Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds the AmeriCorps program. AmeriCorps currently offers 80,000 young Americans, including more than 5,000 young New Yorkers, work experience and training through service opportunities in their communities.
  • Eliminating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) training grants program. Currently in New York State, all workers on publicly funded construction sites of at least $250,000 to complete the OSHA 10 hour construction course.
  • Closing a number of Job Corps centers, which provide free education and vocational training to young people ages 16 through 24. There is currently a Job Corps center in the South Bronx that also operates a Brooklyn satellite location. 
The President is proposing a 13 percent cut to funding for the Department of Education’s budget. These cuts would include at least a $4.6 billion decrease in funding for student financial aid, as well as significant cuts in Federal Work-Study funding. It would also result in a total decrease of $140 million from New York City schools and after-school programs. Included in the president’s budget blueprint are proposals to:
  • Remove $3.9 billion of Pell grant funding, which helps more than 7.7 million students afford college each year, including than 165,000 CUNY students. Moreover, his proposal would eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program provides low-income students with need-based grants. In 2015-2016, more than 104,000 students in New York State received SEOG grants.
  • Eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports summer programs and before and after-school programs, and the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, or Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which helps schools in low-income school districts hire and retain quality teachers. In New York, this would mean cuts of more than $87 million for before and after school and summer programs, and more than $184 million in cuts for teacher salaries.
  • Reduce funding for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) by 10 percent, and funding for Federal TRIO Programs by 33 percent. GEAR UP provides post-secondary preparation and scholarships to low-income and first-generation students and TRIO helps low-income students, first generation students, and students with disabilities progress from middle school to college.
  • Decrease or eliminate federal funds for more than 20 other educational programs including Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, and International Education programs.

Community Block Grant Programs
The president proposes to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Community Services Block Grant Program through the Department of Health and Human Services which contribute to (among other programs):
  • Free breakfast in New York City public schools, which was recently expanded to serve all 339,000 students at all of the city’s public elementary schools;
  • More than $5 million in job training through the NYC Department of Small Business Services;
  • Summer youth employment funding through NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, which serves approximately 60,000 young New Yorkers each year; and
  • Child care programs through the Administration for Children’s Services

Please read the full White House “budget blueprint” here:

Check out the links below for additional analyses of the President’s budget proposals and information on how his plans could affect young adults in New York City if approved by Congress. 

Find your legislators by zipcode here and let them know how important it is that they protect investments in education and employment for young New Yorkers.