Sectoral strategies represent an important approach to moving young adults toward long-term self-sufficiency.
Since 2013, JobsFirstNYC has been advancing sectoral training through our Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project (YASEP) and the launch of the YASEP Learning Community (LC), which provides financial and technical support to seven sector-specific partnerships — each consisting of at least one CBO partner, one industry skills training entity, and one (or more) sector-specific employer/employer intermediary groups — working together to create customized pathways to employment for young adults in New York City who are not in school and not working. Details can be found in our publication Innovations in the Field: Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project. The LC has been active since its inception and has included:
- training, consultation and specific labor market data from CUNY LMIS,
- leadership engagement, partnership networking, and key line staff training,
- program strategy briefings referencing relevant program models and experienced sector practitioners,
- five all-day LC events that brought national and local experts on relevant topics to meet with the partnerships, as well as opportunities to meet together as a partnership team and across the entire LC,
- $50,000 planning grants to offset program development costs, and
- an opportunity to pitch their new program ideas to funders who had identified — through JobsFirstNYC advocacy of the strategy — interest in funding.
In 2015, JobsFirstNYC has held three Learning Community meetings for YASEP partnerships to share lessons from their collaborations. Below is a summary of each session:
April 28, 2015 (download meeting materials)
- Introductions and opening remarks from Lou Miceli, Executive Director of JobsFirstNYC
- An address from Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, former Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the US Dept. of Education. In wide-ranging remarks, she emphasized four characteristics that should be part of every program for young adults:
- Alignment with local labor markets in order to prepare folks for the jobs of the future.
- Collaboration – authentic and meaningful partnerships with employers, civic stakeholders, and second-level educational sources.
- Accountability for outcomes and share broader metrics — not just placement and retention — to prove that programs work. Policy makers are not always aware of the work community based organizations are doing, so programs must be proactive in sharing outcomes.
- Innovation and a willingness to implement promising practices that meet the evolving needs of both employers and young adults.
- She also shared a number of pearls of wisdom:
All of your voices need to be incorporated in policy deliberations. Sometimes you need to kick open the door and just invite yourself to these meetings. But, if you do this, then you must be prepared to roll up your sleeves and volunteer and get the work done.
Regarding WIOA – They are currently developing state and city plans. You have to invite your colleagues, friends, etc. to get involved in these meetings.
Expand effectiveness and programs. This is our time. Seize the moment. Work with our champions in a cooperative manner. Our youth and adults need our help!
- Dr. Dann-Messier was followed by a panel discussion of representatives from several of the YASEP partnerships who shared what their organizations had learned planning and implementing young adult sectoral employment programs over the course of the year, facilitated by Sheila Maguire, consultant to JobsFirstNYC.
- After lunch, attendees broke into four topic specific working groups — Partnerships, Recruitment and Assessment, Essential skills development, and Bridge programs — to identify key achievements and remaining questions in each area.
- Introductions and opening remarks from Keri Faulhaber, Project and Operations Director of JobsFirstNYC, reminding the YASEP members that they are In the Arena.
- Presentation by Liddy Romero, Executive Director of WorkLife Partnership, a not-for-profit organization that is hired by employers to provide a wide range of counseling and assistance services to workers, including a loan program funded by several credit unions. Clients also gain access to JobZology, an innovative career matching system.
- A panel discussion facilitated by Sheila Maguire, on the topic of Working with Employers. Representatives from several YASEP partnerships shared their experiences in finding and engaging the right employers, and reinforcing relationships over the long-term.
- After lunch, attendees reflected on the topics covered during the session and shared their own observations.
July 23, 2015 (download meeting materials)
- Introductions by Lou Miceli and Keri Faulhaber of JobsFirstNYC, and Laurie Dien, Senior Program Officer at The Pinkerton Foundation.
- Vickie Choitz, Associate Director of the Economic Opportunities Program at Aspen Institute gave a formal presentation on Building Bridges to Success in Career Pathway Systems.
- A panel discussion with the YASEP members on Lessons Learned Developing Bridge Structures, facilitated by Sheila Maguire.
- Presentation by Bonnie Flaherty, Manager of the College and Career Pathways Institute at LaGuardia Community College on Developing Contextualized Curriculums in Bridge Programs.
- Katy Gaul-Stigge, Executive Director of the NYC Office of Workforce Development shared information about Bridge Programs within New York City’s Career Pathways Model.
- Sarah Haas, Assistant Deputy Commissioner at NYC Human Resources Administration discussed what HRA has learned both nationally and locally about Bridge Programs, their shift around workforce development from rapid attachment toward an education and career focus, and offered some insight to what their then soon-to-be-released Concept Papers would lay out.
- Jean-Marie Callan, Senior Advisor for the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity discussed what resources might be made available for expanding Bridge Programs in the City, curriculum development, and making courses more accessible to more people.