Throughout our history, NYCETC has sought to increase the availability of and access to investments and supports that position 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 – for success in the workforce. As the year comes to a close, I would like to take a moment to reflect on our collective momentum as the largest city-based workforce development association in the country to hold ourselves and our City accountable for reaching that goal – and express my commitment in 2023 to fortifying our position as the voice of workforce development programs and providers, convener of the representatives and institutions that are committed to the policy development and reform we seek, and the dynamic and driven force for job quality and economic mobility. To trigger and lead the collective action necessary to produce the budgetary, legislative, and regulatory city and state-level results and reforms that will maximize your efforts, increase employer access to talent, reduce workforce barriers for underserved populations, and strengthen local economies, we will partner with you in the new year to:
Spearhead data-driven advocacy efforts to influence the development of a coherent, responsive, and enduring workforce development ecosystem;
Set the recommendations of the Mayor’s Future of Workers Task Force in motion from our unique position as a member of Task Force, as a mouthpiece, as the steward of skill development, training opportunities, and college and career connections in our communities, and as a progress/performance monitor;
Support efforts to secure public and private funding and improve the flexibility of that funding;
Ensure the quality and impact of our providers and partnerships and put common sets of metrics and outcome measurement tools to work while striving to make sure that our workforce is compensated fairly. #JustPay
Champion the creation and coordination of education, training, and employment networks in our neighborhoods, in support of specific underserved populations, and in alignment with the developing labor market sectors/occupations;
Equip providers with the information and analysis required to meet the talent needs of large and small businesses in alignment with a real-time understanding of labor market data and trends;
Link workforce development and economic development through community hiring initiatives and investments in local economic engines;
Amplify your innovations. Leverage our learning to sustain and scale what works;
Strengthen career and technical education opportunities and credit-bearing internships and apprenticeships for in-school youth while expanding access to supportive services and industry-recognized credentials for 16 to 24 years olds experiencing the greatest challenges to find work;
Eliminate barriers to employment. Unburden those in poverty by removing the barriers to economic security that have caused a “benefits cliff.”
I don’t have the most traditional background of policy-makers and advocates in our City. What I bring to this role is a significant history as a provider of programs and services focused on the intersection of education and employment – I have developed and implemented them, grown what has worked and dismantled what hasn’t. I, too, understand the complexities of securing city, state, and federal contracts, and have cultivated relationships with corporate partners and private philanthropy to sustain them. During the initial phase of the pandemic, I was called upon like each of you to transform overnight to meet urgent and emerging needs. I have and will continue to fight for the human services sector, for wage equity, and racial, social, and economic justice.
I will always be most influenced by the personal interactions I have had over time. As I think about the workforce development system that exists now – I remember the retiree struggling to find a foothold in the job market because she couldn’t afford the monthly costs associated with her food, medicine, and rent anymore. And the young adult- star of every sector-focused training we offered who so easily excelled at every temporary or short-term job placement- who declined a full-time job because he was afraid if he took it his family would lose access to their housing subsidy. The single mother of three seeking a second part-time job and a larger apartment. The entrepreneur with a history of housing instability who is dreaming of launching a catering company. The English Language Learner who is taking extra work shifts to assist the family. These are not unique stories. These are New Yorkers who have the same right as anyone to secure a pathway to stability and success no matter the starting point – but they require a sturdy system and a multi-faceted service approach, ‘no wrong door’ entry points and a rigorous retention plan. It is the extraordinary collaboration and coordination of this Coalition that makes that possible. We see potential not limitation.
As we reimagine the scaffolding required to support sustainability and mobility, and as we reset the way we teach and train, the way we partner, the way we fund and employ, the way we organize, we can choose to see our own potential. Each of us carries the weight of changing the course. And each of us is responsible for fulfilling our city’s collective promise. No limitations.
I thank you for allowing me this tremendous opportunity. Don’t forget to renew your NYCETC membership today. We have work to do – and I want to do it with you.
On behalf of the entire NYCETC team, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.
Gregory J. Morris
Chief Executive Officer