Public Works Partners was proud to attend Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of a new vision for New York City’s workforce development system. It was the culmination of a six month engagement with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, the Economic Development Corporation and the Jobs For New Yorker’s Task Force to articulate strategies that will transform our city’s workforce system, increasing its value to job seekers, current workers and employers.
This new vision builds on two of the existing system’s greatest strengths—an outcome orientation and a proven ability to serve employers. What’s new is a substantially greater emphasis on education and training investments, a strong focus on promoting job quality, and efforts to build a true system by better coordinating the City’s workforce agencies and better integrating economic and workforce development initiatives.
The new policies are designed to directly enable greater numbers of New Yorkers to obtain and succeed in jobs that pay family supporting wages. One key strategy for achieving this objective will be making the education and training investments that equip New Yorkers with the skills required for higher wage work. Another key strategy will be placing the education and training investments in in a career pathways framework that provides entry points for people all along the skills spectrum and establishes the advancement paths that foster economic mobility.
Of equal importance, the City’s strategy takes strong steps to ensure its training investments are business-driven and connected to actual hiring needs. By building new industry partnerships and strengthening existing ones, the City will do more to help employers fill their middle-skill jobs. At the same time, the City will ensure that training provided to job seekers and workers translates into advancement and increased income.
While these changes alone would be substantial, it is also very satisfying to see increased emphasis on job quality and an understanding that improvements to job quality can be made in a manner that benefits businesses and workers alike. Helping employers improve job quality will make their businesses more successful and resilient. A more stable, better trained workforce enables businesses to better serve customers and better execute business strategy, while reducing employee turnover and its associated costs. For low-wage workers, basic improvements to job quality—providing regular job schedules, paid sick leave and living wages—will greatly improve employment and financial stability. In turn, this stability better positions workers to pursue skill building and advancement opportunities.
Finally, we are excited to see the City taking steps to improve the internal effectiveness of the workforce system. By better integrating the City’s economic and workforce development initiatives, the City will do more to prepare people for the quality jobs created by City supported development. The City will also improve the delivery of services to businesses and individuals by better coordinating its numerous workforce agencies, which will make it easier to access and navigate the system.
We are pleased to have contributed to these policies and look forward to seeing them implemented. Read the full report at www.nyc.gov/careerpathways.