Editor’s note: This feature was originally included in NYCETC’s NYC Workforce Weekly newsletter, which is delivered free to subscribers’ inboxes every Wednesday with trends and top stories about workforce development in New York City. Subscribe here.
Small Business Committee Chair Julie Menin speak with Commissioner Kim and his team 2 hours 6 minutes into the recorded hearing.
On Tuesday, May 16, the New York City Council Committees on Finance and Small Business held a joint hearing to review the proposed budget for the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY2024). The City’s Executive Financial Plan, released in late April, allocates $197.4 million for SBS, an increase of $33.2 million from the Preliminary Financial Plan released in January. Major takeaways for the workforce community included the following:
- The administration sees the post-pandemic recovery as essentially complete. SBS Commissioner Kevin Kim cited recent analysis from the City’s Economic Development Corporation finding that tourism spending in New York City is now 110 percent of pre-pandemic levels, and that as of April, the city had recovered 99.7 percent of private sector employment from early 2020—a milestone many predicted New York would not reach until 2025 or later. Commissioner Kim also noted that one in every nine New York City businesses that exist today have opened within the past year.
- SBS continues to cede much of its traditional workforce role to the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development (NYC Talent). Most of the 20 percent increase for SBS over the Preliminary Plan will support additional staff positions and new needs for NYC Talent. Two of the new needs, an expansion of the CUNY2x Tech Program and the creation of a Center for Workplace Accessibility and Inclusion, will operate out of NYC Talent. That Office also will gain a number of staff positions to manage those two projects as well as other workforce responsibilities.
In his prepared remarks, Commissioner Kim shared some performance updates for the agency, including that SBS certified or recertified 2,300 Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) this year, and that New York City awarded a record $1.4 billion in contracts to MWBEs in Fiscal Year 2022. He also reported that the City’s 18 Workforce1 Career Centers have engaged 75,000 New Yorkers with workforce services thus far in Fiscal Year 2023, and are on track to meet their full-year goal of 25,000 placements.
During questioning, Members from both committees praised the agency’s support for small businesses while offering relatively gentle prodding on issues including outreach to MWBEs and support for Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Several Members inquired about the impact of pandemic-era federal funds now phasing out, to which Commissioner Kim and his team offered assurances that no programming would be impacted and no staff lines would be lost. When Small Business Committee Chair Julie Menin and Council Member Amanda Farias asked questions related to Council’s request in response to the Preliminary Plan that SBS restore $10 million for a number of workforce training and apprenticeship programs, SBS First Deputy Commissioner Jackie Mallon answered that adjustments to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) budget later this year would close the gap.