Wednesday, January 27, 2016

JobsFirstNYC Testifies Today at the New York City Council Economic Development & Small Business Committee's Preliminary Budget Hearing

New York City Council Economic Development & Small Business Committee
Preliminary Budget Hearing – January 27, 2016

Good afternoon Chairmen Garodnick and Cornegy, and Committee members. I am Marjorie Parker, Deputy Executive Director of JobsFirstNYC, a nonprofit intermediary focused on connecting young adults to the economic life of New York City. Thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I am going to talk about the state of out-of-school, out-of-work and underemployed young adults.

Employment in New York City is booming. Unemployment is significantly lower than it has been since 2008, the City is flush with new jobs, and we’ve seen wage increases of about 4 percent. However, one group of New Yorkers continues to miss out on this economic bounty, 18-to 24-year-olds who are out of school, out of work and underemployed. In 2014, we testified to this same committee about the 35 percent of young New Yorkers constituting this group.

The recommendations embodied in the Career Pathways report have potential for real progress toward creating a workforce system worthy of the City it serves. In 2014, JobsFirstNYC called for an integrated, comprehensive strategy to address the crisis of 18-to 24-year-old out-of-school, out-of-work and underemployed young adults through our policy paper, Unleashing the Economic Power ofthe 35 Percent. The centerpiece is the creation of Youth Opportunity Centers in the communities where large numbers of the 35 Percent live. These centers will connect them to the educational, training, work experience and services that will ultimately qualify them for well-paying jobs. Similar Centers exist in cities like Los Angeles and Boston. In addition, we advocated for expansion of training programs to qualify young adults for in-demand occupations; the creation of industry partnerships to forge inroads to jobs; and the development of a virtual one-stop web portal with comprehensive information concerning potential careers, education and training sources, and descriptions of organizations that help young adults become gainfully employed.

We are happy to see that the City has made progress towards implementing some of our recommendations. However, the de Blasio administration continues to fail a population in great need of more intentional support .  City plans have consistently lacked a bold, audacious initiative, similar to those put forth to address the crisis of childcare, homelessness and housing. A year ago, the City released its Career Pathways report and has now produced a ProgressUpdate that in many ways reads like, “mission accomplished”. However, if I were a young adult in neighborhoods like Mott Haven, Bedford Stuyvesant, or  East New York, where rates of young adults who are out of school and not working are 30 percent and higher, I would probably ask the question, “Mission accomplished for whom?”.

It is not enough for the de Blasio administration to say it is restructuring the public workforce system to align training with market demand, policies across agencies, as well as improve job quality, as Career Pathways  and its subsequent Progress Update indicate that it’s doing. It is not enough for a population that continues to be under-resourced and has spent 24 years already looking up at the first rung of an economic ladder and wondering, “How can I get on?”.  It is not enough for a population that the Mayor has all but ignored. JobsFirstNYC is calling on Mayor de Blasio to make a bold, audacious mayoral-level plan to address the crisis of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults.  JP Morgan Chase & Co. through its New Skills at Work initiative and Howard Schultz/Starbucks through the 100,000 Opportunities initiative serve as two good examples of philanthropy solutions that specifically take on the out of school, out of work crisis. We believe that the City of New York certainly can too.

At JobsFirstNYC, we are focused on advancing economic opportunity for all young New Yorkers. I hope that you will join me in supporting the adoption of specific measures that enable  out of school, out of work young adults to be fully integrated into a growing healthy economy. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

JP Morgan Chase & Co. Announces its "New Skills for Youth" Initiative

Last week, JP Morgan Chase & Co. announced the launch of its New Skills for Youth initiative, a global, five-year, $75 million plan to expand career-focused education.  It is partnering with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium to provide select state and local partnerships with planning and implementation funds to expand and create in-school career pathways for high-wage jobs. It will also be working to research and document innovative community efforts to increase postsecondary credential attainment throughout the country in order to develop new programs and policy recommendations. Though this initiative will focus on in-school career pathways, JP Morgan Chase & Co. hopes to decrease the number of 16 to 24-year-old young adults who are out of school and work, while simultaneously helping businesses strengthen their workforces with high-skilled, talented, young workers.

As JobsFirstNYC works to strengthen the public workforce system and align education and talent development with employment demand for out-of-school and out-of-work young New Yorkers, we applaud these new investments. We believe that the success of this initiative could have an impact on the inflow of youth into the out-of-school, out-of-work population from K-12 education. Furthermore, we believe New Skills for Youth has the potential to be greatly beneficial to young people in some of New York City’s most under-resourced communities, such as the South Bronx, where high school graduation rates are as low as 54%.

JobsFirstNYC is a proud partner with JP Morgan Chase & Co. on a number of initiatives. JP Morgan Chase & Co. is a strong supporter of our Young Adult Sectoral Employment Project (YASEP), through the New Skills at Work initiative, and has been supportive of the Lower Eastside Employment Network (LESEN). It was also an inaugural funder of the Bronx Opportunity Network. Click here to learn more about JP Morgan Chase & Co. and the New Skills for Youth initiative.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Grace Outreach Offers a Free College Prep Program

​Grace Outreach, a nonprofit in the Bronx that offers education and employment services for women of all ages, is putting together its next class/cohort of women for College Prep. College Prep is an 11 week course of study that helps CUNY-bound women prepare for the remedial exams required for CUNY entry. Grace Outreach also provides help with financial aid, admissions, course selection, campus selection, and much more. Contact Danae McLeod, Program Director for more information.