Thursday, February 7, 2013

NYC Employers and Workforce Service Providers came together recently to discuss "Going Beyond the Bottom Line"

On December 14, 2012, JobsFirstNYC, with authors Public Works Consulting, presented the findings of our report, Going Beyond the Bottom Line: Employer Perspectives on the Young Adult Workforce Development System in New York City, to a standing-room-only audience at the New York City Employment and Training Coalition’s annual Workforce Development Summit and Expo. 

Approximately 40 practitioners joined us for this workshop, a highlight of which was a panel discussion amongst five regional hiring managers who gave voice to the employer perspectives featured in the report. The employers represented critical youth-hiring sectors, including restaurants and retail, as well as technology, building services, and insurance.   

The panelists spoke candidly about the benefits and challenges of hiring young workers, the ability of nonprofit organizations to effectively meet their workforce needs, and the skills they were most looking for in young workers. One employer panelist, Greg Hambric, Regional Hiring Manager for Modells Sporting Goods, shared with us his impression of the workshop:

"JobFirstNYC is committed to strengthening the relationship between employers and workforce practitioners to address the needs of getting out-of-work and out-of-school young people employment opportunities. As a Human Resources professional in a specialty retail organization, the use of community workforce organizations to fill various entry level positions throughout the city has been an important part of our recruitment initiatives. These are individuals that our organization would otherwise not have access to through other recruitment means. At the recent 'Going Beyond the Bottom Line' workshop held by JobsFirstNYC, I was fortunate enough to participate as a panelist in a forum, where I was able to share some key components that have made our workforce partnership successful and the reasons why [community-based organizations] will continue to be a viable resource. The workshop was successful at sharing key facts and real world instances that will serve as a blueprint for practitioners to follow when engaging employers. [JobsFirstNYC's] commitment to addressing this youth population and bridging the gap between employers and workforce professionals was evident in the facilitation of this workshop."

The panel was followed by a lively question and answer session with the panelists. These interactions both highlighted gaps in perspectives between providers and employers as well as helped bridge those gaps through conversation and dialogue. We heard from providers a concern that the credentials they were helping young people achieve might not be recognized by employers; the panelists responded by emphasizing the importance of working directly with employers to determine the right credentials that make the difference in hiring decisions and at the workplace. 

JobsFirstNYC will continue to build on our employer engagement efforts through meetings, work groups, research and workplace site visits that help to bridge the divide that too often separates the employers that hire young people and the workforce development providers working to place young people into jobs.

If you are interested in contributing to these critical efforts, consider joining JobsFirstNYC's Employer Engagement Work Group, which meets quarterly. Contact Evelyn Fernandez-Ketcham for more information on upcoming meetings.

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