Strengthening New York City's Youth Workforce System
A Message from Alan Momeyer, JobsFirstNYC Board President
On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, JobsFirstNYC and Center for an Urban Future held a joint symposium on strengthening New York City's young adult workforce system. The symposium was well attended and brought together government officials, practitioners, business leaders, philanthropic leaders and policy experts to discuss specific steps that the de Blasio administration could take to get more young New Yorkers into good entry level jobs with good prospects for advancement and on the path to economic self-sufficiency.
The symposium highlighted and built upon the findings and recommendations of two reports, JobsFirstNYC's Unleashing the Economic Power of the 35 Percent and Center for an Urban Future's Bridging the Disconnect (PDF). Both reports present the need to improve and restructure New York's young adult workforce development system, call for reforms to expand employment opportunities for New York City's young adults, and provide specific recommendations for moving in that direction.
The symposium opened with presentations of the two reports by the authors, Margaret Stix of Lookout Hill Public Policy Advocates and Christian Gonzalez of Center for an Urban Future, followed by a panel discussion of the reports' recommendations, moderated by David Fischer, JobsFirstNYC policy advisor. For the final portion of the convening, attendees broke into smaller groups to discuss recommendations and provide feedback during a facilitated strategy session.
JobsFirstNYC would like to express sincere appreciation to everyone who made this event a great success including: panelists Commissioner Bill Chong of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development; Paul Ortega of Swiss Post Solutions and member of JobsFirstNYC's Employer Leadership Council; Angie Kamath, Per Scholas - awardee of JobsFirstNYC's YASEP initiative; Roderick Jenkins of The New York Community Trust; and, John Twomey of John Twomey Associates and Board Member of JobsFirstNYC. Thanks to Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future, Lou Miceli and the staff of both organizations for collaborating to raise awareness of this critical challenge faced by unemployed and underemployed young adults and the heavy lifting that will be needed to make important changes.
We hope that the recommendations of these two documents are resonating with City leadership. JobsFirstNYC will continue to work purposefully to raise awareness and push for systems change that will bring the 35 Percent of unemployed and underemployed 18- to 24-years-olds into the economic mainstream of New York City.
Making the Case for Sectoral Strategies: Workforce Funders Hear from JobsFirstNYC and YASEP Partners
During the September 2014 meeting of the New York City Workforce Funders at the New York Community Trust, Lou Miceli and representatives from the Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project (YASEP) partnerships presented on why demand-side strategies are critical to improving employment outcomes for young adults. The partnerships also discussed their experiences in the design and implementation phases of YASEP.
"The sectoral strategies YASEP uses benefit employers but are also of great value to practitioners and the young adults they serve," said Lou Miceli. "Providers gain a deeper understanding of and relationships with employers for whom they're looking to prepare and support a workforce, often through collaborations with other providers. When employers have the opportunity to be clearer about what competencies young adults need to succeed for a sector-specific job, then young adults get more targeted training so they can be hired and then excel in those jobs."
"Having Montefiore at the table as we designed the model has been critical to our success," said Dianne Morales, Executive Director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods, which launched the Career Network: Healthcare with Montefiore Medical Center and Hostos Community College in March 2014. "They helped us understand their needs as an employer, and worked closely with us to develop training to meet those needs. As part of the YASEP community, we have the opportunity to share our experience and learn from our colleagues doing this work in other sectors - it makes us all stronger and better able to serve both the employers and our young people."
JobsFirstNYC also presented the Workforce Funders with Innovations in the Field: Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project, a report that explains in depth the promises of sectoral strategies for training and employing young adults.
Resources for the Field
A new report takes an in-depth look at the retail industry's adoption of new "lean" manufacturing practices to manage a part-time workforce is playing havoc with workers' lives. Short Shifted (PDF) looks at how scheduling relates to workers' daily experiences on the job, the effects of open availability requirements, and the challenges of managing income with unstable hours. Produced by the Retail Action Project and the Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, the report states that campaigns for higher wages must recognize that without full-time hours, a higher minimum wage is not enough to lift working families above poverty.
This report, prepared by Maher & Maher in collaboration with Jobs for the Future and the New York City Labor Market Information Service, investigates the value of using real-time labor market information. Given the growing need for accurate and specific information labor supply and demand, real-time LMI tools and systems can enhance services to job seekers and students and be valuable tools for data-driven decision-making in the workforce, education, and economic development systems.
Announced at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in September, the Grads of Life campaign seeks to change employers' perceptions of young adults who are out of school and seeking work. The campaign's website offers tools to connect employers to employment pathways for young adults, including mentoring, school-to-work, internships, and hiring.
Washington, D.C., October 26 - 28
This year, the Close It Summit will focus on four key issues - youth employment, skills and credentials in high demand fields, increasing access and opportunity to curriculum and training (Skill Up) and the critical importance of employability (soft) skills.
Washington D.C., February 25 - 26, 2015
The 2015 Opportunity Summit, Youth Employment: Pathways to Possibility, will convene business leaders, nonprofits, elected officials, and young people around the urgent crisis of youth unemployment and its impact on opportunity in America.