On September 19, The Field Building Hub’s “Monitoring the Minimum Wage” brief series served as the focus of the morning plenary panel at the New York City Employment and Training Coalition’s (NYCETC) annual Workforce Summit. Moderated by Hub Director, Stacy Woodruff, the panel included Hub Senior Fellow and Monitoring the Minimum Wage author Dr. James Parrott; Founder and CEO of Uncommon Goods, David Bolotsky; and Founder of Ox Verte, Jessie Gould.
The audience of more than 300 workforce professionals, City officials, and business representatives learned about the economic context in which New York City’s minimum wage is increasing, as well as the predictions of economic modeling for how workers and businesses will fare as the wage increases to $15 per hour. Panelists David Bolotsky and Jessie Gould discussed how they, as business owners, have increased the wages of some workers independent of the minimum wage legislation. However, both cited challenges like wage compression – the need to adjust wages for those workers earning just above the minimum wage – and the ever-increasing costs of operating a business in New York City.
The “Monitoring the Minimum Wage” series will culminate in a set of tools, resources, and recommendations for how workforce providers can better prepare themselves, their clients, and their business partners for the increasing minimum wage. When asked what the workforce community should pay attention to, panelists identified the following:
- Businesses are likely to demand a higher level of skills to match the higher wages paid, therefore necessitating higher quality training programs;
- Automation is likely to change the nature of entry-level work in myriad ways; and
- Both businesses and workforce providers will need to innovate to stay ahead of or in line with the changes; this provides opportunities for different and deeper partnerships between businesses and workforce organizations.
Following the plenary panel, The Hub hosted a workshop featuring a discussion on the part of two business-facing organizations: Best for NYC (Christine Curella) and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (Karen-Michelle Mirko). The Hub plans to conduct additional convenings and discussions of this sort with workforce development community members throughout the fall.