Wednesday, March 25, 2015

November 6, 2014, JobFirstNYC's "A Look at the Transportation and Logistics Sector" Event

Transportation – we rarely think about it, until it isn't there.  But the ability to move products and people quickly and efficiently is the lifeblood of any city.  Currently, nearly 140,000 Transportation & Logistics sector workers enable New York City the nation's largest transportation hub to host a population of 8.5 million residents and 55 million annual visitors.

Transportation & Logistics covers a wide range of industries air travel and freight, water activity and marine, truck, private sector and ground passenger, scenic and sightseeing, transportation support activities, and warehousing and storage. Locally, these industries offer above average pay and security, are difficult to outsource or automate, and feature an aging workforce.  For young adults, especially those with limited educational credentials, opportunities abound.

On November 6, 2014, JobsFirstNYC convened nearly 100 workforce development professionals at The Conference Center in midtown Manhattan to learn more about transportation and logistics employment in New York City, with an emphasis on strategies to move young adults into growing occupations.

The session opened with welcoming remarks from Lou Miceli and Marjorie Parker of JobsFirstNYC, who described the challenges facing the quarter million young New Yorkers neither working nor in school.   

Lesley Hirsch, Director of the NYC Labor Market Information Service (LMIS) at the CUNY Center for Urban Research (and author of Employment in New York City's Transportation Sector) shared sector statistics on the number of transportation / logistics establishments by borough, average annual employment, and average wages in NYC. Trends within the sector include:

  • The sector is largely concentrated in Queens and Brooklyn (airports, warehouses) 
  • The sector is aging and predominantly male
  • At present, employment growth projections are positive only for air transit
  • Marine transportation is a small but growing subsector, which holds some exciting career opportunities
  • Transit work can provide robust rewards in terms of wages, job stability, union protections and benefits, and ongoing professional development opportunities; however, training providers need to figure out how to effectively convey these values to young people
  • Opportunities exist to make better transportation sector connections with the New York City government but have not yet been well exploited

L-R: David Fischer, Andrew Genn, Kelly Dougherty, Jessica Cracchiolo

David Fischer of JobsFirstNYC then moderated a panel discussion on citywide transportation initiatives.  Representatives of three major transportation-related agencies Andrew Genn, Senior Vice President for Ports & Transportation, NYC Economic Development Corporation; Kelly Dougherty, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Division, NYC Department of Small Business Services; and Jessica Cracchiolo, Director of Grant Associates' Workforce1 Industrial & Transportation Center shared detailed insights into:
  • specific areas of opportunity for low skilled young adults
  • pathways for career mobility in the sector
  • long-term trends that make it likely the sector will continue to grow 
  • the process for identifying appropriate employers and candidates
  • critical needs for future exploration / growth of youth involvement in the sector

Lauren Rasnake, Sheila Maguire, Peter Fernandez, Lowell Herschberger, and Lesley Hirsch 
discuss sectoral collaborations between employers and workforce organizations

Concluding the session, Lauren Rasnake of Brooklyn-based online marketplace UncommonGoods facilitated a discussion on the benefits and challenges of sector-based partnerships.  Panelists Sheila Maguire, consultant with JobsFirstNYC's Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project (YASEP), Lesley Hirsch of the NYC LMIS, Lowell Herschberger, Director of Career and Education Programs at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, and Peter Fernandez, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Citipak Delivery Systems, Inc, shared first-hand experiences with employer-provider partnerships, including:
  • How JobFirstNYC's Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project (YASEP) is helping workforce organizations collaborate together and with employers
  • Examples of how sectoral partnerships can foster a pipeline of candidates, employees and career pathways that benefit both business and young adults
  • Tips and challenges for creating successful long-term public / private partnerships

Reaction among event attendees was overwhelmingly positive, as reflected in comments like "Great job session. Learned a lot!" "It was all helpful, very well organized and with useful handouts!" and "Very well done. Worthwhile!" They particularly appreciated the in-depth statistics, the presence of employers and employer intermediaries in the room, and the first-hand experiences in building sectoral partnerships.  In fact, the most frequent comment was that such important topics demanded more time.

Clearly a real thirst exists within New York City's workforce development community for these types of learning and networking opportunities that JobFirstNYC is proud to sponsor.

Click here to download detailed materials from this session.

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