NYC Workforce Development Board Eyes Federal Funding Boost, SYEP’s 60th Anniversary, and Apprenticeships

This feature is part of our ongoing series of communications on items and initiatives related to city offices, agencies, officials and the New York City Council.

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.

The New York City Workforce Development Board held its most recent quarterly meeting last Wednesday, June 7th. The meeting featured updates from the Departments of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and Small Business Services (SBS), a presentation from Accenture on its recent landscape analysis of apprenticeship in New York City, and findings and discussion with Dr. James Parrott of the Center for New York City Affairs on his recent analysis of divergent unemployment rates among Black and white New Yorkers.

Recommendations from the Future of Workers Task Force – which had been included on the original meeting agenda – were identified as forthcoming. Staff from the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development (NYC Talent) suggested that they expect to release the report in the next few weeks, and looked forward to discussing it at the Board’s next scheduled meeting on September 12.

Here’s what else you need to know:

— City’s FY24 WIOA allocation to approach $100 million. NYC Talent staff reported that for the second straight year, New York City will see a considerable increase in federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) dollars, as the federal funding formula continues to “reward” the city for its heavy job losses through the pandemic. After years of annual allocations in the $60-65 million range, WIOA funds for Fiscal Year 2023 rose to nearly $87 million, with next year’s projected allocation at $99.9 million—the highest it has been (in nominal dollars) since 2005.

— SYEP’s 60th anniversary to feature record enrollment, enrichment, and Pride. DYCD announced that they are on track to match last year’s record Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) enrollment of 100,000 young New Yorkers in paid work experiences. The program received 174,800 applicants and has already enrolled 85,000 youth, with lotteries continuing.Thus far, 13,000 work sites have committed to hosting participants, with over 100,000 pledged slots in total.2 Beyond the program itself, DYCD is putting together a video series to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the program featuring SYEP alumni from the last six decades, and has planned nearly 100 enrichment events including worksite tours, career panels, and job fairs to deepen participants’ career exploration and work readiness. Finally, the agency shared the launch of SYEP Pride, designed to provide inclusive supports for LGBTQ+ participants, with support from high-profile employers including Louis Vuitton and ABC News.

— New WIOA Youth concept papers coming soon. DYCD also shared that it expects to release concept papers for two WIOA-funded programs, Train & Earn (serving out-of-school youth) and Learn & Earn (serving in-school youth), in July. The agency will then hold sessions with participants and providers to gain feedback on the proposed program models, and plans to release formal Requests for Proposals (RFPs) later this year.

— SBS still working toward Workforce1 Career Center RFP release. SBS is finalizing the release of its Workforce1 RFP. The agency set two objectives for the RFP: effectively directing services toward groups with defined needs such as justice-involved, out-of-school/out-of-work (OSOW) young adults, foreign-born workers, and others; and making contracts more accessible to vendors that might not have the financial capacity to manage a reimbursement-based contract that can require several million dollars in upfront costs. As a result, what had been planned as one RFP is now being planned as three: a traditional contracting opportunity for borough-based Workforce1 Centers that will cover about 10 sites; a second for sector-focused centers, of which two (serving healthcare and industrial/transportation) currently exist; and a third, programming-based option focusing on special populations including OSOW and justice-involved New Yorkers, which will operate at a lower price point (under $1 million) in hopes that a wider range of providers might apply.

— Accenture analysis finds NYC lagging peer cities on apprenticeships. Following Mayor Eric Adams’s announcement last winter that New York City would support 30,000 apprenticeships by 2030, NYC Talent commissioned Accenture to conduct a landscape analysis on apprenticeship in the city. The consulting giant found that New York has a lower concentration of apprentices among its adult population than nearly every other major city, with a rate less than half that of Philadelphia and Dallas. Accenture also noted the heavy concentration of apprenticeships in the trades, while observing that the job title with the third-largest number of active apprenticeships is “school safety agent” and suggesting that the public sector might offer strong opportunities for growth.3 Other key insights of the analysis included the importance of apprentice supervisors and trainers, the value of aligning public with corporate and philanthropic resources to fuel apprenticeship growth, the need for framing apprenticeship as something distinct from outmoded assumptions about manufacturing-era jobs, and the opportunity to center justice and equity by creating high-quality pre-apprenticeship programs targeted to diverse populations.

Further Reading

Get caught up with NYCETC’s explainer on workforce development boards, and budget hearing summaries on DYCD and SBS.

1 This number includes young people who are offered SYEP slots but do not accept, whether because they find other opportunities, their family plans change, or for other reasons. Although exact figures are not available, the number of SYEP applicants who were not offered slots is likely closer to 40,000 than the nearly 75,000 one would assume simply from looking at the numbers.

2 SYEP providers are encouraged to develop as many job slots as possible, to ensure that all participants can be placed; additionally, employers often find as summer approaches that they cannot host as many youth as they might have initially indicated.

3 One apprenticeship-like option in the public sector available for CUNY graduates is the Civil Service
Pathways Fellowship, a partnership with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services that offers
professional development and a job placement of up to two years within city government while Fellows
prepare for and take the civil service exam.