Funder Recommendations Meet City Leader Action
Last year, the New York City Workforce Funders presented a report that contained "design principles" and recommendations that articulated a vision of a new labor-market driven workforce system for the City that meets the needs of both job seekers and employers. In February of this year, the group issued a companion document "Research on Recommendations: What Works - and What Doesn't - in Re-Structuring Workforce Development Systems in U.S. Cities and States." The two documents are important because they present a cohesive and convincing argument for a major overhaul of the city's approach to workforce development.
In April of this year, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen announced that the City will indeed overhaul its workforce training programs. How closely aligned are the de Blasio Administration's new priorities and the recommendations put forth by the NYC Workforce Funders? PNY members are invited to hear directly from Glen and from deeply engaged funders when she joins us for the June Quarterly Meeting of the Workforce Funders group this Wednesday, June 4.
One of the 10 recommendations in the second Workforce Funders report was that there should be "A single appointed leader within the mayor's office" to oversee all workforce development strategies. The City has already acted on that recommendation with the appointment of Katy Gaul-Stigge to head of the newly titled office Mayor's Office of Workforce Development, which was previously the Mayor's Office of Human Capital Development. But what will that really mean for the hard work of restructuring the City's fractured and complex workforce system?
Gaul-Stigge is tasked with coordinating many city agencies-such as Small Business Services, the Economic Development Corp., the Brooklyn Navy Yard Corp., NYC and Company, the Department of Education and the various housing agencies-in overhauling the city's approach to training the workforce.
In her public remarks, Glen has emphasized the need to make the City's training programs more useful for our region's burgeoning tech sector. The Workforce Funders' recommendations, it could be argued, take a more expansive approach to the city's diverse labor pool and emphasizes responsiveness to a wide range of businesses and their extremely varied needs. This Wednesday's funder conversation with Glen will provide an excellent opportunity to better understand the direction the City is headed and whether or not philanthropic resources can be brought to bear on mutually agreed upon goals.
The session will also include a panel of experts talking about workforce strategies that are working well in other cities. The program will provide important insights for funders working across issues such as education, economic development, women and girls, equality, immigrant assistance, poverty alleviation and youth development.
Our recent programs with Health Commissioner Bassett and Education Chancellor Fariña have been very well attended, so we recommend that all interested funders RSVP as soon as possible. We hope to see you here on Wednesday.
This article was the feature piece for the May 2014 Philanthropy Connects Newsletter.