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Statewide Coalition of Economic & Workforce Development and Business Leaders Launch “Invest in Skills NY” Campaign Supporting Governor Cuomo’s Budget Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 2, 2018

CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202.734.6510

Statewide Coalition of Economic & Workforce Development and Business Leaders Launch “Invest in Skills NY” Campaign Supporting Governor Cuomo’s Budget Proposal

[Albany, New York] — This week, Young Invincibles, JobsFirstNYC, and New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP) met with state lawmakers in Albany, in coordination with the launch of their Invest in Skills NY campaign, an advocacy partnership between employers and economic and workforce development communities to strengthen New York’s workforce and close the skills gap.

The Invest in Skills NY campaign was created in response to Governor Cuomo’s proposed $175 million investment in workforce development in this year’s State of the State address. It is vital that the Governor and New York State Legislature ensure that this funding is secured and used in the most effective ways to give New Yorkers skill training needed to fill in-demand jobs. This must include creating a long-term funding strategy, as well as strong accountability standards for measuring skills development program performance.

From Long Island to Buffalo, it is clear that the shortage of skilled workers is deeply affecting local economies.  At the meeting, lawmakers shared stories of employers facing challenges in hiring skilled candidates for good paying jobs, and all agreed workforce development is a critical issue facing New York. Now, we are calling on the New York State Legislature to come to agreement on the solution and make a historic investment in the state’s workforce development system.

As detailed in the State of the Workforce Report: 41 percent of New Yorkers have a high school diploma or less, and the young adult unemployment rate is more than double the state rate at 10.5 percent, with the young adult unemployment rate in New York City alone at a rate of 14 percent. Additionally, nearly 22 percent of New York’s workers are ages 55 and older, further exacerbating the skills gap and worker shortage.

“In this budget, we have the ability to empower the next generation of New Yorkers with education, training, and resources to lessen the skills gap and expand employment opportunities across the state,” said Marissa Martin, Young Invincibles’ Northeast Director, following Tuesday’s statehouse meetings. “To help young workers into the future, this historic workforce development agenda must be more than simply a short-term financial investment, which is why Young Invincibles and Invest in Skills NY are committed to working with lawmakers, organizations, and advocates in our state to ensure that this budget and initiative is structured for sustainable success.”

“New York should be a leader in workforce development. Each year the State puts nearly a billion dollars into economic development investments, leaving only inflexible, federal dollars to fund job training and skill development,” said Melinda Mack, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals. “175 million dollars is a great start and we hope it will serve as a catalyst to deeply connect job training, postsecondary skill development, and employment services in our State.”

“The Governor’s landmark proposal to invest $175 million into workforce development system is a common sense approach to breaking down barriers that New Yorkers face in accessing the economy while helping employers find the talent they need,” said Kevin Stump, Vice President of Policy, Communications, & In-School Practice, JobsFirstNYC. “As the labor market increasingly requires more education and credentials, the state must become a prominent steward in building the skills of tomorrow’s tomorrow’s workforce.”

Visit www.investinskillsny.org to learn more about this coalition and the need to invest in workforce development and skills training as an economic priority in New York.

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Marissa Martin