Tech Jobs Are Fueling NYC’s Recovery, A Big New Investment In Tech Training From Harlem To Hollis Is Needed

May 15, 2021

By Jonathan Bowles

A month before the pandemic hit New York, my colleagues and I at the Center for an Urban Future published a report urging city officials to make a bold new commitment.

That bold new commitment is to expanding and improving the city’s tech education and training programs.

The need was clear: the tech sector was driving much of the city’s economic growth and becoming the most dependable source of new middle-income jobs, yet far too few of these jobs were going to Black and Latinx New Yorkers.

A new report we published yesterday shows that the need to bolster programs that expand access to tech careers has only increased during the past year.

Our new study, Preparing New Yorkers for the Tech Jobs Driving NYC’s Pandemic Economy, shows that tech will almost certainly be one of the main engines of New York’s job growth in the post-pandemic economy, presenting a crucial opportunity to get New Yorkers back to work.

This new report reveals that nearly one-in-five of all new jobs postings in New York City during the pandemic were in technology occupations.

Indeed, between April and November of 2020 there were more jobs advertised for technology positions (67,923) in New York City than for healthcare occupations (60,266), despite the pandemic-fueled surge in healthcare hiring.

Demand for tech hiring in New York was also more than double that of finance jobs, more than triple that of marketing roles, and almost five times larger than demand for hospitality or for education.

Our study, co-published with Per Scholas, also finds that 55 percent of New York City job openings posted from April to November required strong digital skills.

The report, which analyzes data on New York City job postings collected by labor market analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies, argues that city leaders—including the next mayor—will need to make major new investments in tech training and education programs to ensure that the New Yorkers most impacted by the pandemic’s economic toll are able to access these in-demand jobs.

Among our specific recommendations, we urge city leaders to:

  1. Scale up the most effective tech training programs, with a focus on programs that develop in-depth, career-ready skills; and
  2. Create and expand bridge programs to provide crucial new on-ramps into the most effective tech training programs.

We expanded on these and other policy recommendations in an op-ed published yesterday in Gotham Gazette, titled “Tech Jobs in the City are Growing; Here’s How to Make Sure New Yorkers Can Fill Them.” The op-ed, by CUF Policy Director Eli Dvorkin and Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund Managing Director Amber Oliver, argues that “an expansion of both career training and K-12 computing education can help dislocated workers get on the path to in-demand occupations and ensure that future generations of New Yorkers build computational thinking skills as part of a sound basic education.”

Our report also sparked an article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “Tech Jobs Lead the Way in New York City’s Covid-19 Pandemic Hiring.”

To read our new report, which was made possible with support from Google, follow the link: Preparing New Yorkers for the Tech Jobs Driving NYC’s Pandemic Economy.

Please also check out our other recent research about how to expand access to tech jobs in New York:

Jonathan Bowles is Executive Director of The Center for an Urban Future (CUF) is a leading New York City-based think tank focused on building a stronger and more inclusive economy in New York City. This report was made possible thanks to supporting from Google. CUF receives general operating support from The Clark Foundation, the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation, and the Altman Foundation. We are also grateful for support from Fisher Brothers Foundation for the Center for an Urban Future’s Middle-Class Jobs Project, and ongoing support from a number of other philanthropic funders.

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