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Transforming New York City’s Emerging Workforce. WIRED Proposal for the New York City Region Marilyn Shea, New York City Workforce Investment Board Stuart Schulman, Kingsborough Community College Presentation to the New York State Workforce Investment Board April 5, 2007. Agenda.

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transforming new york city s emerging workforce

Transforming New York City’s Emerging Workforce

WIRED Proposal for the New York City Region

Marilyn Shea, New York City Workforce Investment Board

Stuart Schulman, Kingsborough Community College

Presentation to the New York State Workforce Investment Board

April 5, 2007

  • The New York City Region
  • Labor Shortages in the Service Sector
  • The Emerging Workforce
  • Transformation Strategies in the Service Sector
    • Information Collection, Analysis and Dissemination
    • Building Skills On-The-Job for the Emerging Workforce
    • Immigrant Entrepreneurship
    • Curriculum Development and Community Engagement
  • WIRED Projects and Lead Partners
  • Outcomes and Deliverables
  • Questions and Answers
new york city region
New York City Region

Within New York State, New York City is a distinct economic region comprised of five counties (or boroughs), which are interconnected in terms of:

  • Common sectors driving economic growth
  • Reliance on a common public transportation system
  • Availability and diversity of the workforce

Mayor Bloomberg’s five-borough economic development plan underscores that New York City is one economic unit.

The success of New York City’s economy overall depends on the economic growth of each borough.

labor shortages in the service industry
Labor Shortages in the Service Industry
  • New York City has tremendous capacity to attract talented workers, nationally and globally, for high-skilled occupations in the financial services, insurance, real estate and creative services sectors.
  • However, labor shortages are predicted in New York City’s service sector as older workers retire and younger workers are ill-prepared to take their place.
  • Service sector workers bolster the regional economy by providing vital services that make New York City a leading tourist destination and an attractive place in which to live and work.
  • Without a strategy to address these labor shortages in the service sector, New York City could lose critical service workers who make the City run and support the City’s overall economy. By 2012, there will be 7,040 openings in retail sales and 5,520 openings in food and beverage service.*
  • At the same time, the City will need to absorb large populations of New Yorkers who, without transformative workforce strategies, are not adequately prepared to enter or succeed in the labor market.

* Chance of a Lifetime, Center for an Urban Future, May 2006.

who will fill the service worker gap
Who Will Fill the Service Worker Gap?
  • The Center for an Urban Future released a series of reports that highlight youth and immigrants as two populations that could fill labor shortages in key sectors.
  • New York City’s WIRED proposal focuses on preparing the City’s emerging workforce for jobs in the service industry, while simultaneously working with service industry employers to create new advancement opportunities for emerging workers.
  • The emerging worker populations targeted under this proposal are:
      • Immigrants
      • Youth/Young Adults
integrating immigrants into the workforce
Integrating Immigrants into the Workforce
  • New York City’s foreign-born population grew 130% from 2000-2005, with immigrants driving the City’s overall population growth
  • New York City is home to 1.7 million immigrant workers, representing 48% of the resident labor force*
  • 1.2 million immigrants in New York City speak English “less than very well,” presenting a serious workforce challenge
  • The severely limited availability of ESL instruction in New York City (just 41,585 seats) means that ESL instruction cannot be a standalone strategy to prepare immigrant workers for the workforce
  • New York City proposes a transformative strategy that will help employers hire, retain and advance immigrant workers
  • A supporting strategy will help immigrant entrepreneurs establish and grow their businesses

Source: A World of Opportunity, Center for an Urban Future, February 2007

*Source: Fiscal Policy Institute Presentation, December 2005

connecting youth and young adults
Connecting Youth and Young Adults
  • Between 200,000 and 250,000 of New York City’s 16-24 year olds are “disconnected.”*
  • These disconnected youth are neither in school nor working
  • Disconnected youth are difficult to serve because they are disengaged from the very institutions that could help them
  • New York City proposes a transformative strategy to engage disconnected youth through work-focused curriculum development that reaches youth in the communities in which they live

* Chance of a Lifetime, Center for an Urban Future, July 2006.

transformation strategies for the emerging workforce
Transformation Strategies for the Emerging Workforce

New York City’s WIRED proposal is comprised of four complementary strategies to engage the emerging workforce:

  • Develop capacity for collecting and analyzing timely, relevant information on New York City’s workforce and economy in order to inform policy making and program design decisions
  • Provide the emerging workforce with mechanisms to remain in the labor force and to successfully advance
  • Support immigrant-owned entrepreneurial businesses, which frequently provide an important first step into the labor market for immigrants who do not speak English well. Engagement will focus on the services sector, as many immigrant businesses are concentrated in the sector
  • Reach disconnected youth and unemployed adults within their communities by/through the development of flexible occupational curricula that can be adapted to different instructional settings
transformation strategy 1 information collection analysis and dissemination
Transformation Strategy 1Information Collection, Analysis and Dissemination

Center for Labor Market and Economic Analysis (WIB/CUNY)

  • Establish a Center for Labor Market and Economic Analysis at CUNY focused on the collection and analysis of labor market and economic data specific to the New York City region
  • Make data available for public use through a web-based interface
  • Commission studies on key sectors and provide current economic and trend analysis

Regional Real-Estate Development Project Database (SBS/EDC)

  • With the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), construct a database for tracking upcoming real-estate development projects, the stage of completion, potential tenants and the communities impacted by the project
  • Database construction affords an earlier opportunity for SBS to engage with both jobseekers and small businesses in the impacted communities
transformation strategy 2 building skills on the job for the emerging workforce
Transformation Strategy 2Building Skills On-The-Job for the Emerging Workforce

Customized Employee Retention Needs Assessment (CERNA) and Customized

Retention Plans

  • Employment turnover rates are highest among young workers. Additionally, average job tenure for low-income workers (a category into which many immigrants fall) is one-half of that of middle-income workers*
  • Retention Specialists will create a CERNA and subsequently develop customized retention plans for a diverse set of employers over three years in order to determine common retention strategies to be used by the workforce investment system
  • Retention Specialists will particularly seek to work with businesses that have large numbers of immigrant and youth workers that move in and out of the labor force. These will most likely be in the service sector (retail, food service, hospitality)

Customized Training Grants

  • Employers in the service sector where most immigrant and youth workers are employed operate on a low profit margin and are hesitant to divert resources to training
  • Employers would apply for and receive training grants for up to 50% of training costs for a cohort of workers

* Holzer, Harry and Martinson, Karen. Focus, Volume 24, No.2 Spring/Summer 2006

transformation strategy 3 immigrant entrepreneurship
Transformation Strategy 3Immigrant Entrepreneurship

NYC Business Solutions Center: Immigrant Outreach Through Community Networks

  • SBS’s reach has been impeded by cultural and logistical barriers which complicate access to and relationship-building within ethnic populations
  • SBS will lead an immigrant outreach pilot focused on accessing previously underserved populations
  • SBS will facilitate communications with small business owners through its existing relationships with community-based organizations
  • Information obtained from this pilot would provide a tremendous knowledge cache for engaging with immigrant entrepreneurs and would support replication efforts
  • Given that 49% of the self-employed population of New York City are immigrants, future replication efforts have the potential to significantly impact small business growth throughout the region
  • Pilot will focus on the Mandarin-speaking community of Flushing, Queens
  • Interventions will include courses and seminars, business counseling, financial assistance and government facilitation (e.g., assistance with licensing)
transformation strategy 4 curriculum development and community engagement
Transformation Strategy 4Curriculum Development and Community Engagement

Content Councils

  • Create four "Content Councils" that will be initiated and convened by Kingsborough Community College faculty engaging faculty across CUNY’s 21 institutions, employers, community-based organizations and K-12 educational institutions
  • Content Councils will focus on designing employment skill-building curricula that can travel; the curricula could be delivered at a high school, at multiple locations in the CUNY system, at community-based organizations, or by an employer
  • Each Content Council will focus on a different industry within the service sector, ensuring that industries in which labor shortages are predicted are prioritized
  • Curricula would be disseminated to the intended recipients through a combination of existing workforce investment system networks, CUNY networks and new outreach partnerships such as with the Youth Development Institute at the Fund for the City of New York
curriculum development and community engagement cont d
Curriculum Development and Community Engagement, Cont’d

Potential Impact of Content Council Curriculum Development

Stakeholder Engagement




K – 12 Education





Food Service

CUNY Networks

Workforce Investment System Networks

New Partner Networks

Credit Students

NYC Business Solutions Business Outreach Team

Alternative High Schools

Non-Credit Students

Immigrant Outreach Partners

Workforce1 Community Partner Network

High Schools & Community Partners

Young Adult Borough Centers


Community-Based Organizations

wired projects and lead partners
WIRED Projects and Lead Partners

Regional Workforce and Economic Data Tools

NYC Labor Market Analysis Center

Real Estate Development Database

New York City WIB and

The City University of New York (CUNY)

NYC Economic Development Corporation and

NYC Department of Small Business Services

Emerging Workforce Projects

Customized Employee Retention Needs Assessment

Business Solutions Center for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

NYC Department of Small Business Services

NYC Department of Small Business Services

Customized Training

Service Industry Content Councils

NYC Department of Small Business Services

Kingsborough Community College (CUNY)

Youth Work Curricula

Youth Development Institute (FCNY)

outcomes and deliverables
Outcomes and Deliverables

Center for Labor Market and Economic Analysis: Capacity Building

  • Creation of a Center for Labor Market & Economic Analysis housed at CUNY
  • Creation of a “public use” mechanism through a web-based application

Real-Estate Development Project Database: Capacity Building

  • Creation of a database system to track large-scale economic development projects and connect to workforce development efforts
  • Examples of potential impact: The Gateway project Bronx Terminal Market – 2,100 jobs, Spring 2009; East 125th St Development Project – 1,000 to 2,000 jobs, Fall 2009

Retention Assessment and Planning: Capacity Building and Pilot Outcomes

  • Creation of a Customized Employer Retention Needs Assessment (CERNA) to be used across the workforce investment system
  • Increase the percentage of target “emerging workforce” retained through interventions in comparison to an employer’s prior retention rate
  • Increase in number of hours employees in pilot sites are working

The five-borough WIRED proposal has two sets of anticipated outcomes/deliverables for the projects: Capacity-building and pilot program outcomes

outcomes and deliverables cont d
Outcomes and Deliverables (cont’d)

Customized Training for the Emerging Workforce: Capacity Building and Pilot Outcomes

  • Wage increase up to 20%, in keeping with the outcomes we’ve seen from the NYC Business Solutions Training Grant in the past
  • Increase in the education/literacy (both math and written) skills of immigrant and youth employees
  • Increase in transferable skills in these employees, including customer service skills, cash handling/finance skills, and managerial/supervisory skills
  • Provide skills upgrade to 630 incumbent workers

Business Solutions Immigrant Outreach: Capacity Building and Pilot Outcomes

  • Create a replicable model for engaging immigrant communities through existing community-based organizations
  • Serve 500 businesses in Flushing, Queens, largely in the service sector

Content Councils: Capacity Building and Pilot Outcomes

  • Create four occupationally-based curricula informed by business, labor market analysis, CUNY faculty and community-based organizations engaging with immigrants and youth
  • Pilot curricula with at least 10 sites to refine and tailor to different populations
  • Place at least 160 trainees with whom the curricula was piloted
vision for next stage of transformation
Vision for Next Stage of Transformation

The New York City region will sustain the proposed transformation by:

  • Expanding emerging workforce initiatives to focus on other sectors
  • Engaging new partners and additional workforce investment system stakeholders
  • Fully integrating the strategies across the region’s workforce investment system
  • Bringing pilot sites to scale
Q & A

Questions and Answers