On Monday, March 18, Justin Collins, Assistant Director of the Workforce Field Building Hub at WPTI testified before a joint session of the Oversight Committee and the Economic Development Committee of the New York City Council, along with representatives from several other workforce intermediaries, service providers, and advocates. The session was co-chaired by Councilmember Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Oversight Committee, and Paul Vallone, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, and focused on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York Works plan, launched in 2014 as an economic development strategy for creating 100,000 jobs in the coming decade. New York City Economic Development Corporation President James Patchett testified to the City’s progress on this effort.
The Hub’s testimony included key strategies to bring the economic promise of New York Works to fruition, particularly for New York City’s most disadvantaged communities, primarily focusing on the key element left out of the New York Works plan: workforce development, and ensuring that New Yorkers are prepared for, and have access to, the in-demand career pathways that can help them advance economically. We made three primary recommendations, largely based in the findings from our 2018 Workforce Agenda report. First, the City must directly align its career pathways framework and initiatives with the job creation strategies outlined in New York Works and give this work the financial support it requires, while better engaging organizations and professionals in the workforce field while crafting RFPs and developing programs. Second, the City should support better data infrastructure in order to foster information sharing across organizations. Third, the City should increase support for bridge programming, consistent with the Mayor’s promise to provide $60 million additional dollars annually for this work by 2020.
We emphasized the fact that job creation is only optimized when complemented by real investment in workforce development. While new jobs are needed, we must prepare and connect New Yorkers to career pathways and growth opportunities if we want to make a real impact on issues of economic inequality and foster economic and social mobility.
The Hub looks forward to keeping the workforce community updated as we work to ensure workforce development remains a priority for Mayor de Blasio and City government.
For full testimony, please visit this link.