Thursday, March 23, 2017

What the President's Proposed Budget Would Mean for Young New Yorkers

The President’s FY 2018 Budget Blueprint: Implications for Workforce Development and Education in New York 

Last week, the White House released its budget blueprint for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The blueprint proposed budget cuts for federal spending on many of the education and workforce programs currently serving young New Yorkers. Additionally, it proposes cuts for several other New York City services that severely impact the economic prospects of young people and low-income residents in our city.

President Trump proposes a 21 percent decrease in funding to the Department of Labor (DOL).  According to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Democratic staff, this decrease in DOL funding would mean a 35 percent decrease in funding for job training and other employment services. A funding decrease of this magnitude would result in the loss of 140,000 employment training slots, as well as 5-7 million American workers and jobseekers losing access to supportive services, such as career counseling and case management. If these cuts extend to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Grants to States (which support many of our state’s current programs for out-of-school young adults and sectoral programs), New York would have funding for 158,415 fewer WIOA participant slots than in FY 2017. Other workforce related proposals include:
  • Eliminating the Commerce Department’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, which saved small- and medium-sized manufacturers in New York State more than $48 million dollars and helped them hire or retain more than 3,500 workers in 2015. The president also proposes to eliminate the Economic Development Administration (EDA) program grants and discretionary funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund both of which provide vital funding to create jobs, support small businesses, and expand economic opportunity in under-resourced communities in New York. Small businesses make up 99 percent of all businesses in New York State.
  • Eliminating funding to the Corporation for National and Community Service, which funds the AmeriCorps program. AmeriCorps currently offers 80,000 young Americans, including more than 5,000 young New Yorkers, work experience and training through service opportunities in their communities.
  • Eliminating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) training grants program. Currently in New York State, all workers on publicly funded construction sites of at least $250,000 to complete the OSHA 10 hour construction course.
  • Closing a number of Job Corps centers, which provide free education and vocational training to young people ages 16 through 24. There is currently a Job Corps center in the South Bronx that also operates a Brooklyn satellite location. 
The President is proposing a 13 percent cut to funding for the Department of Education’s budget. These cuts would include at least a $4.6 billion decrease in funding for student financial aid, as well as significant cuts in Federal Work-Study funding. It would also result in a total decrease of $140 million from New York City schools and after-school programs. Included in the president’s budget blueprint are proposals to:
  • Remove $3.9 billion of Pell grant funding, which helps more than 7.7 million students afford college each year, including than 165,000 CUNY students. Moreover, his proposal would eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program provides low-income students with need-based grants. In 2015-2016, more than 104,000 students in New York State received SEOG grants.
  • Eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports summer programs and before and after-school programs, and the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, or Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which helps schools in low-income school districts hire and retain quality teachers. In New York, this would mean cuts of more than $87 million for before and after school and summer programs, and more than $184 million in cuts for teacher salaries.
  • Reduce funding for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) by 10 percent, and funding for Federal TRIO Programs by 33 percent. GEAR UP provides post-secondary preparation and scholarships to low-income and first-generation students and TRIO helps low-income students, first generation students, and students with disabilities progress from middle school to college.
  • Decrease or eliminate federal funds for more than 20 other educational programs including Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, and International Education programs.

Community Block Grant Programs
The president proposes to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Community Services Block Grant Program through the Department of Health and Human Services which contribute to (among other programs):
  • Free breakfast in New York City public schools, which was recently expanded to serve all 339,000 students at all of the city’s public elementary schools;
  • More than $5 million in job training through the NYC Department of Small Business Services;
  • Summer youth employment funding through NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, which serves approximately 60,000 young New Yorkers each year; and
  • Child care programs through the Administration for Children’s Services

Please read the full White House “budget blueprint” here:

Check out the links below for additional analyses of the President’s budget proposals and information on how his plans could affect young adults in New York City if approved by Congress. 

Find your legislators by zipcode here and let them know how important it is that they protect investments in education and employment for young New Yorkers.

Monday, March 6, 2017

JobsFirstNYC Testifies at NYC Council Preliminary Budget Hearing

Youth Services and Finance Committees Joint Preliminary Budget – March 6, 2017

Good afternoon, Chairpersons Eugene and Ferreras-Copeland, and other distinguished Council Members of the Youth Services and Finance Committees. My name is Chantella Mitchell and I am the Policy and Program Associate at JobsFirstNYC, a policy to practice intermediary focused on the issues of young adults who are out of school and out of work or underemployed.

For ten years, JobsFirstNYC has been developing and supporting innovative strategies to support out-of-school, out-of-work young New Yorkers. We are here today continuing to advocate for this population’s inclusion in the mayor’s and city council’s visions for a more equitable city.

We recently released brand new data on the out-of-school, out-of-work population in New York City. The data show that with improvements in the economy, and through the diligent work of workforce and education providers and advocates, more young people are working and in school since the recession. However, the numbers are still too high, and the disparities among neighborhoods are as stark as ever. More than 136,000 18-24-year-olds are neither working nor in school, and in parts of the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn, where rates are the highest, 30 percent or more of young residents are out-of-school and out-of-work.

Building on our work over the years, JobsFirstNYC recommends two areas of investment to the Youth Services Committee. First, we recommend the creation of a large-scaled “Business for Young New Yorkers” public campaign; and second, we urge you to increase investments in effective training and employment opportunities for living wage careers in under-resourced neighborhoods.

As I mentioned, the rates of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults vary drastically from neighborhood to neighborhood. For this reason, JobsFirstNYC has taken a neighborhood, or place-based, approach to developing strategies to connect young adults and local businesses. Last month, in the South Bronx, the NYC neighborhood with largest number of young people in the city, but the highest rates of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults, we successfully convened dozens of small and medium-sized Bronx employers to share the plethora of opportunities to partner with public and nonprofit workforce providers to source talent. On the Lower East Side, where booming economic development has multiplied the number of career opportunities over the last decade, we worked with community-based organizations to develop the Lower East Side Employment Network – a collaboration of CBOs and Community Board 3 that helps companies recruit, hire, and retain quality candidates at lower operational costs. LESEN ensures that local residents are able to benefit from the neighborhood’s economic growth by collectively serving 10,000 job seekers and 300 businesses every year. Finally, we are working with local employers in our emerging seasonal employer collaborative that will allow leading businesses in New York with high volumes of seasonal workers to work together to design and lead collective efforts to train, hire, and retain local young workers interested in year-round employment.

These and other efforts should be replicated, on a large scale to best match young workers with local employers for sustained success in in-demand fields. We recommend that our local government, with its vast array of business relationships, launch a citywide campaign to encourage private sector employers to develop
and hire local young talent. A strong example of small businesses pledging to developing talent is a project underway between the Small Business Majority and U.S. Small Business Administration called Small Biz 4 Youth Campaign.

New York City has taken steps to improve the quality of services delivered to OSOW young adults. However, many young adults remain disconnected from training and employment opportunities for living-wage careers. In 2015, half of all jobs in New York State required a training and education beyond high school, but not a four-year degree, these are often called middle skills jobs. Many excellent programs in New York City are providing sectoral training and certificate programs for middle skills jobs, but the need and demand for these programs – from both young adults and employers – far exceeds the city’s investment. We urge the city to create and expand successful programs training young people for living wage, middle skills careers. This includes sectoral programming, apprenticeships, and certificate programs.

Other areas for increased investment in training and employment include: creating an initiative to help young adults access employment in the public sector; strengthening retention and wrap-around supports for young workers after they’ve successfully secured employment; and evaluating and strengthening the various new youth opportunity centers throughout the city. We first recommended that the city create a network of one-stop centers that connect young people to jobs and to the educational, training, and support services in our 2014 paper Unleashing the Economic Opportunity of the 35 Percent. Since then, a crop of new centers has emerged throughout the city. From the new SBS youth-focused Workforce1 Center in the Bronx, to the Manhattan DA’s recently announced grants for five centers throughout Manhattan. We encourage the city to evaluate these new centers to ensure that they are coordinated to provide a truly comprehensive list of effective employment services, and that they are placed in the neighborhoods with the highest needs and staffed by organizations with the most successful histories serving this population.

Just last year, Comptroller Stringer stated the following when he released a report highlighting the dire situation of job and earning opportunities for young New Yorkers: “Millennials are doing their part for New York City – they are politically involved, culturally engaged, and highly motivated. This generation is overcoming setbacks and changing the way we work, live and communicate. Now it’s time for the rest of us to do our part and put policies in place that will help this powerful group settle down in New York City, start their careers, and raise families here, so our economy can continue to grow.”

Now is the time to put that call to action in place. We urge the city to make the investments necessary to ensure that young New Yorkers can share in our city’s economic success.  

Thank you,

Chantella Mitchell, JobsFirstNYC