Report Reveals NYC’s Workforce Providers Face Inadequate Resources Despite Rising Demand

Report from NYC Employment and Training Coalition, Workforce Professionals Training Institute and the Center for New York City Affairs Follows Recent Commitments From City Leaders to Support Workforce Community

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New York, NY – (September 1, 2022) — Local organizations connecting New Yorkers to the skills and training they need for better-paying and family-sustaining careers are facing increased demands but are struggling with fewer resources, according to a new report released today by the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC), Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) and the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School (CNYCA).

In the first of two extensive reports mapping out the workforce development sector, the report authors found that providers are reconciling the pressures of client recruitment and staff retention with the demand to expand services. This administrative burden has been noticeable following the global pandemic, as funding sources have become more limited even as organizations have been forced to invest in new technology in order to pivot for programming in virtual settings.

“New York City has always been a source of economic strength for the state and the country. The service providers who help connect our talented workforce to better careers are essential to that strength,” said Annie Garneva, Interim CEO of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC). “This report and our experience over the last two years further confirm that our city has a lot more to do to ensure every New Yorker has the opportunity to access the skills and training they need to thrive. To do so, we must fully fund and support the groups on the ground who help our workers and businesses grow.”

The report, “New York City’s Workforce Landscape: A Network of Programs, Providers and Organizations Foundational for Catalyzing a Robust and Equitable Economic Recovery,” surveyed 143 organizations across the five boroughs. The organizations are as diverse as the New York communities they serve, varying in their size, scope and budget. The respondents work across a variety of in-demand fields; with sectors like technology (18 percent), construction (14 percent), and healthcare (14 percent) reporting the highest number of training and programs citywide.

However, many of the organizations reported changes and challenges that are impacting their ability to serve New Yorkers:

  • Funding for wraparound supports such as direct cash assistance and child care is extremely low, which as a result, can hinder workers’ ability to participate in training programs and enter the workforce.
  • Transitioning to virtual operations from a traditional in-person experience remains a concern, especially while ensuring staff and participant safety. 
  • Many providers have begun taking a sector-based training approach to improve their participants’ employment and career prospects. 
  • Most workforce development and multi-service agencies receive the bulk of their financial support through government funding flowing through City agencies or funding streams while facing far more difficulty winning proposals to access State funds.

The report emphasizes the need for a more centralized and collaborative workforce system. A recent report by Invest in Skills New York found there were at least 75 funding streams administered by 21 City agencies designated to support workforce development programming, with approximately $678 million in annual funding. Consequently, the landscape report highlights the lack of a shared definition of success; no uniform data; very limited capacity to monitor and assess data; few incentives rewarding effective long-term, holistic outcomes such as skills gains and career growth; and no central place for workforce providers and other stakeholders to offer system-wide proposals.

“As a training and capacity-building provider, I have seen firsthand how proactively investing in our local workforce can be instrumental in closing the skills gap, diversifying our workplace and improving our city’s output,” said Sharon Sewell-Fairman, Chief Executive Officer of the Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI). “This report proves that our economic landscape has changed and will continue to change. We must ensure the workforce system is equipped with the necessary supports to meet this moment – particularly for low-income New Yorkers and those hardest hit by the pandemic – who continue to face even greater barriers to employment and deserve innovative workforce programs.”

“To ensure every person in New York City has the same opportunities, we need to work together to better collect the experiences of people on the ground with the workforce community. This thorough and thoughtful review is an important step towards that goal,” said L.K. Moe, Assistant Director for Economic Affairs at the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School. “The Center for New York City Affairs is proud to partner on this report that spotlights all that has been done and still needs to be done in our current environment. This important alignment represents an incredible opportunity we can take towards a truly fair, inclusive economy that benefits every New Yorker.”

“As the Workforce Landscape report highlights, New York City’s workforce development community has and will continue to play an important role in fortifying the most vibrant economy in the world”, said Maria Torres-Springer, NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development. “The administration looks forward to working with the NYC Employment and Training Coalition and its membership towards a shared goal of building a workforce that not only recovers from the impacts of the pandemic but thrives in its wake.”

“As the Chair of the Committee on Economic Development, I know how crucial it is to create access to economic stability and generational wealth for all New Yorkers. There is no path to an equitable economic recovery without holistic and quality job access in the communities who need it the most. I applaud the New York City Employment Training Coalition for their extensive report on how our City must continue to support and invest in workforce development. New York City has so much opportunity and is full of hard-working people, and it is essential we support their growth and success,” said Council Member Amanda Farias (D-18). “I look forward to working with Mayor Eric Adams, the Office of Workforce Development, and my colleagues in the New York City Council to continue fighting for workers rights and investments in centralized job pipelines.” 

“One of the first hearings held this session by the Committee on Oversight and Investigations, which I chair, was focused on the City’s siloed workforce development programs,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer (D-06). “I am encouraged by the administration’s response to my office on this topic and look forward to the benefits of further investment in training initiatives. Cooperation between government and nonprofits is pivotal to a successful and equitable transition to a digital economy. The latest report from NYCETC on the City’s workforce landscape makes clear that there is more work to do.”

The report follows major announcements and efforts by local leaders to address New Yorkers’ and businesses’ workforce needs, and emphasizes the need for more resources and administrative support in expanding capacity and innovation within the workforce ecosystem. While the latest City budget approved by Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council made key investments, particularly for youth and young adults in expanding individual programs such as the Summer Youth Employment Program and Work Learn Grow, the report highlights the urgent need for targeted investments that more fully strengthen the workforce system in bolstering youth and adults including support for pay equity, bridge programs and pre-apprenticeships, wraparound services for participants, and the development of digital infrastructure to better meet economic and labor market conditions. Mayor Adams also recently signed an executive order to form an Interagency Talent and Workforce Development Cabinet, aiming to address some of the administrative support needs articulated by service providers, such as coordination and collaboration among City agencies and service providers.

The authors’ next report will examine how providers are reacting to the current labor market and how they have utilized data to develop and/or revise their sector-based strategies for programming.


About the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC)

Founded in 1997, the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC) is the largest city-based workforce development association in the country. NYCETC works to ensure that every New Yorker — especially those who have been historically marginalized and disenfranchised and cut off from workforce opportunities — has access to the skills, training, and education needed to thrive in the local economy and that every business is able to maintain a highly-skilled workforce. Its 200 members create jobs and connect underserved New Yorkers — primarily New Yorkers of color, New Yorkers with low or moderate incomes, New Yorkers with multiple barriers to employment, and New Yorkers who have been left out of the growing economy due to systemic and historic marginalization — to opportunities so they can support their families and give back to their communities.

About the Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI)

Founded in 2004, WPTI is the leading provider of learning, consulting, and systems building to New York City’s workforce development organizations and practitioners. Utilizing comprehensive resources, including industry experts, direct employer input, academic research, labor market information, and adult learning principles, they help their clients create a more employable workforce for the economy of the future. They forge partnerships among thousands of practitioners, funders, and government agencies to create systemic workforce improvements for the long-term economic growth of individuals, families, and communities. 

About the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School

The Center for New York City Affairs at The New School is an applied policy research institute that drives innovation in social policy. The Center provides analysis and solutions, focusing on how public policy impacts low-income communities, and striving for a more just and equitable city.