Mayor de Blasio Offers Microgrants For Development Of Workforce Training Programs

The de Blasio Administration today announced it is offering up to $300,000 in microgrants to qualified organizations that specialize in workforce development from Harlem to Hollis.  The grants will support research and planning into innovative approaches the City could take to promote training and hiring of underrepresented New Yorkers in tech and other in-demand sectors. The grants will build upon existing investments that the City has made in the tech sector, which have led to employers like Amazon and Google announcing their second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens and the expansion of their Manhattan-based workforce, respectively.

Through a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI), the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (WKDEV) and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) are seeking to arm workforce providers and community-based organizations with funds to develop effective, innovative programmatic concepts that the City and its partners can implement to help ensure local talent is prepared to access new hiring opportunities.  Grant funds are anticipated to be used by experienced organizations with a track record of providing job training and placement services to relevant populations to support research tasks, the hiring of new staff to work on plan development, and similar start-up costs.

Download the RFEI here.

“Ensuring a broader mix of New Yorkers are able to access more and better jobs in an increasingly more automated economy is at the core of my work in the de Blasio administration,” said Deputy Mayor of Strategic Policy Initiatives Phillip Thompson. “I am proud to work with City agencies and programs, workforce providers and community-based organizations to create sustainable paths to career opportunities through strategies around education, employment, and business expansion. Today’s announcement is a great example of how we are doing that and I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Economic Development Corporation on investing in the programs that administer these opportunities with a particular focus on economic inclusion.”

“Preparing New Yorkers for the jobs of tomorrow and making sure those jobs are accessible to residents from all backgrounds with different skillsets is critical to leveling the economic playing field,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “We are excited to partner with the Office of Workforce Development to catalyze innovative workforce training programs that will help ensure New Yorkers are ahead of the game as the City’s tech sector industry booms.”

The City is seeking responses that can serve as a blueprint for developing a strategy to bring more underrepresented New Yorkers into tech and other in-demand sectors. Responses should focus on one of two workforce development areas: academic campus hiring/degree programs and adult education/workforce development. Respondents may include but are not limited to organizations that:

  • Provide youth development, workforce development, and/or skills training services, particularly to underrepresented New Yorkers;
  • Provide Adult Basic Education, High School Equivalency preparation, and English language classes for adults and older youth; and
  • Engage in broader policy development and research on place-based talent and workforce development strategies.

Organizations are encouraged to respond to this RFEI without making a request for funding. However, as initial guidance, the City expects to award up to approximately $300K across multiple awards of up to approximately $50-80K each to eligible respondents to support them in delivering high-quality recommendations. Requests for funding will be considered based on the need for and expected use of funds described in the respective responses.

“I am delighted that the City is investing critical resources and funding towards advancing career readiness programs and helping underrepresented communities enter the tech industry. With the addition of Amazon, NYC has further cemented itself as a world tech hub and I am glad to support programs that create tangible benefits for New Yorkers and support their entrance into this lucrative field,” said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

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Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said, “Expanded educational programs will help ensure that our city’s residents attain competitive jobs in the tech industry.  Of course, more needs to be done but I will continue to advocate for effective adult education programs for the people of our district.”

“As NYC’s tech sector continues to grow and companies like Google and Amazon are pushed to hire locally when they move or expand here, we need to make sure New Yorkers in all neighborhoods have the requisite training to land good jobs at high wages,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I appreciate EDC’s efforts to advance workforce development programs and I hope many qualified organizations respond to this grant opportunity.”

“Hiring local talent is a must-have for the Amazon deal, and this RFEI looks to prepare for this massive economic development opportunity by tapping into and maximizing the potential of our diverse workforce,” said Council Member Peter Koo. Education, skills training and workforce development are all on the table, and now is the time to fully examine how we can capitalize on a long-term commitment to good and sustainable jobs.”

“With HQ2 coming to Long Island City, New Yorkers must be guaranteed that they will have the opportunity to obtain the high paying jobs Amazon will create,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “Targeting youth and workforce development will be critical in ensuring that residents have the skills and education to succeed in these jobs. I look forward to seeing the results of this RFEI and working with the EDC as we prepare New Yorkers to reap the maximum benefits of Amazon’s move.”

“This Request for Expressions of Interest shows that the City is taking meaningful steps to educate our communities and thus provide a skilled workforce for the companies coming to our Boroughs, such as Amazon,” said Staten Island Borough President Jim Oddo. “The Staten Island Amazon Fulfillment Center has quickly become a prolific employer of Staten Islanders, and I am grateful to see the City’s efforts to provide workforce development and educational opportunities for the community members who need to learn the proper skills for the tech positions these companies require.”

New York City’s technology ecosystem is growing rapidly, having grown 30% between 2006 and 2016, per a study by HR&A. This trend has continued in the last few years — according to a report by Tech:NYC and Accenture, 53% of leading tech companies expected to increase their overall workforce by more than 20% in 2018.

Last fall, Amazon announced it will draw from New York’s diverse and talented workforce to fill at least 25,000 new jobs over the next 10 years that pay an average salary of $150,000 per year. And in December, Google announced it was planning to double its current New York City workforce to nearly 14,000 workers by 2022. As a result, the City has a unique and timely opportunity to undertake long-term planning for these new jobs and others more broadly in the tech sector, applying successful models from the City and across the country.

Initiatives like the Tech Talent Pipeline Web Development Fellowship (a free program that prepares New Yorkers to launch a new career in web development) and CUNY 2x Tech (a public-private partnership that seeks to double the number of tech bachelor’s degrees from CUNY Colleges between 2017 and 2022) are emblematic of the City’s efforts to ensure that New Yorkers from a diversity of backgrounds are well-equipped for roles in the tech sector.  This RFEI will supplement these existing programs by identifying additional program models or policy recommendations that the City should consider – particularly with an eye toward ensuring that New Yorkers coming from underrepresented populations have the support they need to participate in the opportunities created by the tech economy.

“The development of workforce training programs is an investment in the students of today and future leaders of tomorrow,” said DOE Chief Academic Officer Linda Chen. “New York City’s college enrollment and college readiness are at record highs, and this grant program will help us build on our progress and prepare our students for 21st-century careers.”

“Good jobs in the growing tech sector must be accessible to all New Yorkers.  The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and our agency partners look forward to collaborating with the City’s diverse workforce development community to build new and innovative models of bridge and skills training to prepare and connect New Yorkers to these opportunities,” said Amy Peterson, Director, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development.

“As a partner in the Community Advisory Committee, CUNY is committed to supporting efforts to ensure access to opportunities across a broad section of jobs and career paths. The process to solicit ideas and feedback is crucial because the initiative to bring Amazon HQ2 to NYC is unprecedented in scale and scope for New Yorkers,” says City University of New York Interim Chancellor Vita Rabinowitz.

“Queens College looks forward to examining the RFEI in light of our longstanding commitment to providing talented and skilled graduates who remain in Queens and New York City contributing positively to its diverse workforce.  We look forward to participating in opportunities to help develop transformative programs that address the necessary educational preparation for quality jobs as well as academic and policy research,” said President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Queens College.

“NYCETC has long advocated for EDC’s job creation plans to include quality education and skill-building initiatives, especially bridge programs for adults with basic skills deficits or barriers to employment,” said Joey Ortiz, Executive Director of the NYC Employment and Training Coalition. “This RFEI is an important first step in that direction and will elicit a wide range of ideas reflective of the scale of need within our communities and the innovative work already being done by employment and training organizations. We urge the City, State and Amazon to continue to collaborate with and invest a robust level of funding into the workforce community in order to ensure the successful development of a local and diverse talent pipeline that meets Amazon’s talent needs.”

As the country’s largest city, New York City’s workforce development programs have strongly influenced the direction of nation’s labor market as a whole” said Andrew Rasiej, Founder and CEO of Civic Hall,“Now with Amazon’s help, New York City has an extraordinary opportunity to accelerate and upgrade its workforce development programs to maintain its leadership position for the rapidly changing 21st century economy”

“Amazon’s decision to relocate to Long Island City is a big win for New York, but it’s crucial that New Yorkers from all backgrounds have a good shot at getting these good-paying jobs. This will require major new investments in education and training, and I’m delighted that the de Blasio administration is taking important steps to do just this. I applaud the de Blasio administration for this vital plan to ensure that a lot more New Yorkers from low-income backgrounds can access the middle-class jobs of the future,” said Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director, Center for an Urban Future.

“A critical part of the mission of the NYC Innovation Collective is to strengthen the NYC community by providing increased access for all New Yorkers into the innovation economy,” said Brian Frumberg, President & Chairman, NYC Innovation Collective. “The innovation leaders across our membership know that a strong, diverse, and talented workforce is the key to ensuring a vibrant tech sector. The recent announcement of Amazon is a big win for New York. We are proud of our city for making the investments needed to ensure it is a win for all New Yorkers.”

“Businesses today are in the midst of radical changes. In the rush to prepare workers for high-paying careers in the technology field, many people overlook one of the most effective and reliable sources of candidates to fill these roles — employees who are already working in tech-adjacent jobs.  We won’t need to produce new tech talent from the ground up, or to bring them in from elsewhere. New York City is already home to many brilliant and talented people with diverse backgrounds and professional skills. The talent we need is all around us. With a little investment, we can secure the jobs of the future for New Yorkers today,” said Elizabeth Lukas, CEO of Decoded.

“We applaud NYCEDC for their commitment to building an inclusive workforce pipeline for New York City. Amazon HQ2 is another example of why NYC is best positioned for rewarding career opportunities. The new global digital economy requires new skills, technical literacy, as well as access to higher education. Silicon Harlem supports any effort that opens doors for all citizens,” said Silicon Harlem Co-Founders Clayton Banks and Bruce Lincoln.

“We applaud NYCEDC for their commitment to building an inclusive workforce pipeline for New York City. Amazon HQ2 is another example of why NYC is best positioned for rewarding career opportunities. The new global digital economy requires new skills, technical literacy, as well as access to higher education. Silicon Harlem supports any effort that opens doors for all citizens,” said Silicon Harlem Co-Founders Clayton Banks and Bruce Lincoln.

“For more than 100 years, Pace University has excelled by giving New Yorkers from all backgrounds the academic skills and real-world experiences needed to launch distinguished careers in every field,” said Marvin Krislov, Pace University President. “Our innovative Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems educates the hard-working developers, programmers, and cybersecurity experts Amazon will be seeking at its HQ2. Pace, in keeping with its long tradition, is eager to work side by side with the city’s institutions to support workforce development initiatives to ensure that talented, underrepresented populations can bring their capabilities and vision to Amazon.”

“As Jack Ma recently stated at the World Economic Forum, educational systems worldwide must shift both focus and form to fairly prepare future generations (and current populations) for employment in the new economy,” said John Lynn, Co-Founder of Accelerator Awesome. “This RFEI is a chance for New York City to assertively demonstrate global leadership in how cities can provide for its residents’ educational and professional development — these new programs expand the number of city communities that will be both aware and prepared for the many opportunities presented under the shifting tides of the information age.  By ensuring that more of NYC’s varied communities have a chance to grow and compete for the jobs arriving alongside Amazon’s second headquarters, the city is able to maximize its strongest advantages: diversity, talent, and innovation.”

RFEI responses should be submitted no later than 4:00 pm on February 27, 2019. Respondents with questions and clarifications can submit them via email to WorkdevplanningRFEI@edc.nyc no later than 4:00 pm on February 6, 2019. Answers to questions submitted via email will be posted on the EDC website on February 13, 2019.

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