New York City

City Name and Name of Workforce Area:
New York City

Contact Person:
Reynold Graham, Policy Associate, Workforce Development Board, NYC Office of Workforce Development

Contact Information:
Phone: 212-788-0022

Bill de Blasio

wkdev logo – jpg

New York City’s new Career Pathways strategy aims to create a more inclusive workforce, one that provides New Yorkers with opportunities to develop new skills, enter the workforce and earn wages that allow them to achieve economic stability, regardless of their starting skill level or educational attainment. To realize this vision, the City is supporting training programs that give people the skills needed for entry-level work, as well as supporting the career advancement of low- and middle-skill New Yorkers. The Career Pathways strategy is creating a more comprehensive, integrated workforce development system and policy framework so that agencies can more effectively help workers gain skills and progress in their careers.

In 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio created the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (WKDEV) and convened the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force (Task Force), comprised of members from key businesses, educational institutions, organized labor, nonprofits and philanthropy. The Task Force was charged with articulating goals for a new workforce system. The Task Force proposed recommendations across three key policy areas: building skills employers seek; improving job quality, and increasing system and policy coordination. These recommendations were outlined in the Career Pathways: One City Working Together report, issued in November 2014. WKDEV leads and coordinates activities to implement the recommendations.

Building Skills Employers Seek – Sector Strategies

  • Workforce1 Career Centers: The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) operates a network of 17 One-Stop Centers, known locally as Workforce1 Career Centers, across the five boroughs, serving approximately 125,000 people each year.
  • Workforce1 Sector-Focused Career Centers: In 2009, the city launched sector-focused centers in Healthcare and the Industrial and Transportation sectors. An evaluation found that sector-focused career centers produced higher employment rates, increased job stability, and yielded substantially higher wages compared with traditional career center participants.
  • Industry Partnerships: A major component of the City’s Career Pathways strategy, the city has launched two industry specific initiatives to engage employers and enroll individuals in skills trainings:
    • The New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH) brings together multiple stakeholders of the healthcare workforce development system in order to address the industry’s rapidly changing labor force needs. Launched in 2011, NYACH is an initiative of the New York City Workforce Innovation Fund, a public-private partnership between SBS and the NYC Workforce Funders, and is part of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. NYACH is based at the Workforce Development Corporation (WDC), an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization closely aligned with SBS. Its programs include:
    • Tech Talent Pipeline (TTP), a $10 million industry partnership designed to deliver quality jobs for New Yorkers and quality talent for New York’s businesses. TTP works with public and private partners to define employer needs, develop and test training and education solutions to meet these needs, and scale solutions that work throughout the city’s largest systems, delivering homegrown talent for 21st century jobs across the five boroughs.

Building Skills Employers Seek – Youth

Youth employment is a major priority for Mayor de Blasio. Research has shown that young people from the poorest families are the least likely to have early experiences of employment. In May 2015, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City launched the Center for Youth Employment (CYE) housed within WKDEV. CYE is a new public-private initiative designed to dramatically expand workforce access and opportunities for New York City’s young people through early mentorship, internships, and skills-building programs. The Center works to better collaborate with local employers in youth workforce programming, and to facilitate greater coordination and strategic thinking among the public and private groups already supporting college- and career-readiness activities, all with a goal of ultimately connecting 100,000 young New Yorkers ages 14-24 to summer jobs, mentorship, and internships each year by 2020 – an increase of 80% over current capacity.

Several programs targeted at young adults exist across a wide array of city agencies. A sampling of those programs includes the following:

  • The In-School Youth (ISY) program provides services to eligible juniors and seniors in high school. ISY services include objective assessments, creating individual service strategies, counseling, work readiness training, college readiness activities, SAT preparation instruction and other youth related mentoring services.
  • The Out-of-School Youth Program serves 16 to 21 year-old young adults who are not connected to school or work and need assistance upgrading their educational and occupational skills.
  • The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) provides New York City youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with summer employment and educational opportunities. SYEP is designed to emphasize real-world labor expectations; increase awareness of services offered by local community-based organizations; and provide opportunities for career instruction, financial literacy training, academic improvement, and social growth. The program was evaluated by New York University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
  • The Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP) was designed recognizing that many disconnected youth already possess the basic skills needed to enter the labor market and may need only a short-term intervention and work experience to connect to sustainable employment or educational programs. Participants in YAIP complete a 14 week program including an orientation, internship, and paid educational workshops. An evaluation report was released in 2009.
  • The CUNY Fatherhood Academy is a 16-week program that works to strengthen families by promoting responsible fatherhood and economic stability through education, employment, and personal development for young adult fathers ages 18 to 24 years. Participants enroll as cohorts and receive support to earn their high school equivalency degree, enroll in college and develop as fathers. A qualitative evaluation of the program was produced in 2014.
  • The NYC Justice Corps engages court-involved young adults ages 18 to 24 in reparative service to their communities, internships, and employment and educational opportunities. Corps members participate as cohorts in six months of intensive programming, with education, work readiness and case management services throughout. An evaluation report was released in 2014.

Improving Job Quality

The City is taking measures to promote the economic stability of New Yorkers in low-wage jobs by encouraging good business practices—such as consistent scheduling, access to commuter benefits and financial empowerment services—that can help employers improve their own bottom line and provides stability for employees.

  • Best for NYC: In 2015, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) launched Best for NYC, a campaign and set of business tools and services designed to inspire and equip New York City businesses to measure and improve business practices that help create well-paying jobs and improve the quality of life in all five boroughs, while also strengthening their bottom-line.
  • Financial Empowerment Services: Also in 2015, the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Office of Financial Empowerment spearheaded a multi-agency collaboration to use the workplace as a platform to help low-wage workers build long-term financial stability through increased income and asset-building. Through this campaign, DCA provided low-wage workers with services to access safe and affordable banking products such as direct deposit, strategies for saving and money management and free help for filing taxes and accessing income supports such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Increasing System and Policy Coordination

Local administrative policies can be a key lever to promote career pathway development and implementation. New York City government itself is a major driver of economic growth across the five boroughs. By promoting alignment between workforce programs and economic development initiatives, the City can maximize economic mobility opportunities for New Yorkers. The City is committed to aligning its economic development investments and procurement dollars with its workforce system to create more inclusive access to jobs.

  • Hire NYC: The City is launching HireNYC, a suite of programs designed to leverage the City’s purchasing power to help New Yorkers access job opportunities. These initiatives will provide free, high-quality recruitment services to vendors filling open positions. While each program will vary based on the type of procurement or investment involved, it will generally require businesses to share open positions with the City, which will then refer qualified candidates to vendors.
  • Common Metrics:  Each City agency administering workforce programs engages with employers and jobseekers independently, using its own outcomes, definitions, processes and data. An initial step toward building a more cohesive system involves the finalization of a set of 13 Common Metrics that provides standard terminology and definitions for key milestones (e.g., enrollment in a skills training program) and outcomes (e.g., full-time job placement) commonly used in workforce programs. By establishing Common Metrics, the City will be able to track the same outcomes for all programs and better understand the performance of its various funding streams and the system as a whole.

National Replication

In 2010, the New York City Center for Economic Opportunities (CEO) and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC received a $5.7 million Social Innovation Fund (SIF) annual grant from Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The grant supports replication and evaluation of five of CEO’s most promising anti-poverty programs in New York City and seven other urban areas around the country.

  • WorkAdvance seeks to boost the earnings of unemployed and low-wage working adults by helping them obtain quality jobs in targeted sectors with opportunities for career growth.  After placement, the program continues to assist participants to help them advance in their chosen careers. WorkAdvance sites are located in New York City, Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio and Tulsa, Oklahoma. MDRC is conducting an evaluation of WorkAdvance to learn more about the most effective strategies to promote employment for low-income workers. An interim evaluation report was released in October 2014; a final report is expected in early 2016 and will focus on the program’s impacts on employment and earnings.

Local Labor Market Information/Analysis