New York City is in the midst of its largest increase to the minimum wage in over half a century. NYC’s minimum wage began diverging from the federal rate of $7.25 per hour in 2014, when it increased to $8 per hour, and will continue year over year increases to $15 per hour (for businesses with 11 or more employees) through the end of 2018. These changes confront the local workforce development field—inclusive of businesses—with an array of opportunities and challenges for preparing, attaching, and advancing entry level and low skilled workers to the labor market.
The New York City Workforce Funders, a group of more than 60 foundations interested and invested in workforce issues, devoted their June 7 quarterly meeting to the topic of the increasing minimum wage. Field Building Hub strategic advisor, Steven Dawson, moderated a panel with representatives from the food service (James Mallios, Amali Restaurant), food manufacturing (Bob Chory, Valentine Yeast Company), healthcare (Allison Cook, Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute), and service (Niko Radjenovic, Wildlife Conservation Society) sectors. Hub Senior Fellow, James Parrott, established the local economic context in which the increases are unfolding, including both record low unemployment and the highest number of jobs located in the city.
The Hub will launch a series of briefs on the minimum wage increase, beginning in late June, and seek to engage stakeholders throughout the workforce field to explore related issues; distill learnings from the experiences of businesses, workforce programs, and job seekers to date; and develop tools to equip the field to navigate the changing labor market as the wage increases continue.