Introducing A New Blueprint for Transforming New York State’s Workforce System

A new blueprint outlines the challenges facing New York’s workforce development system and offers Governor Cuomo three major recommendations to help build New York’s 21st-century workforce development system.

Albany, NY - Today, Invest in Skills NY released a blueprint highlighting the desperate need to invest in New York’s evolving workforce and outlining three major recommendations for Governor Cuomo to address the challenges facing New York’s currently fractured workforce development system. Titled “Leveraging Opportunity, Meeting Demand: A Blueprint for Building New York State's Workforce Development Strategy,” the blueprint also highlights how Governor Cuomo’s administration should seize on New York’s current economic boom and respond to the tightening labor market with solutions that catapult New York’s workforce development infrastructure into the 21st century. The three recommendation areas are:

  • Empower leadership. Set statewide goals. And develop a statewide plan.
    Across the United States, the most effective workforce development systems have a demand-driven, regionally diverse statewide workforce board. In New York, however, there are at least 13 different state agencies administering workforce development programs without a shared vision, outcomes, or accountability for results. Governor Cuomo should restructure the State Workforce Development Board to include leading employers from growing sectors, experts in postsecondary education, workforce and employment providers, state agency leadership, and economic development stakeholders to set goals and build a statewide plan.

  • Build a career pathways system.
    By building a statewide system that links and aligns relevant public systems with private and nonprofit partners, the state can ensure its limited resources are spent in ways that will create maximum impact for employers and employees alike. This can be accomplished by mandating government agencies to develop an integrated workforce development system, creating a mechanism to fund workforce development activities and programs, and fostering continuous improvement and innovation to respond to changing demand.

  • Build a 21st century data infrastructure.
    To be truly cost-effective and responsive to labor market demands, New York State should focus on building a single user-friendly system that uses labor market information, measures performance outcomes across agencies, and evaluates programs.

“New York State is decades behind states like Texas in building an efficient, accountable, and coordinated workforce development system that can respond to the changing needs of the economy, which increasingly requires more skills and credentials,” said Kevin Stump, a Vice President at JobsFirstNYC and co-chair of the Invest in Skills NY coalition. “This blueprint outlines a clear plan to operationalize Governor Cuomo’s vision of having a regionally organized, data-informed, and demand-driven workforce development system.

Meanwhile, an updated annual report, The State of the Workforce, by the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP) shows the evolution of employers’ needs in New York. Key findings show we have a perfect storm of employer demand outpacing available talent -- and New Yorkers in need of skills. The report describes:

  • There is not enough skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of the labor market. In New York, 40% of the people who live and work in the State have a high school equivalency or less, meaning New Yorkers lack the skills necessary to fill well-paying jobs that are currently available.

  • Nearly all industries are growing, some at rates not seen in the last decade. However, New York is contending with sizeable reductions in its available labor force. This is only exacerbated as New York ages; nearly a quarter of working-age adults are set to retire from key sectors like Healthcare and Manufacturing, and the nagging issue of young adults not connecting to employment early or often enough.

  • The jobs that are growing the fastest across New York are low wage jobs. Approximately 82% of the fastest growing jobs are pay less than $20; leading to an increase in working New Yorkers living in poverty and need for resources to support childcare, transportation and other basic needs”.

Given these trends, Invest in Skills NY is calling on the Governor and Legislature to consider workforce development as a key component of its economic agenda; and to move forward with implementation of the Governor’s workforce development agenda. This blueprint provides key strategies to make this vision a reality. You can read the blueprint here.

Alexander Pryor