Career Pathways: Progress Update

Policy Updates

On December 15, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force released an update on their plan for New York City’s workforce development system. One year after the original plan was released, “Career Pathways: Progress Update” reviews both what has been accomplished thus far and the work that is currently in progress.

The original proposal entitled, “Career Pathways: One City Working Together,” was developed by the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (WKDEV) in partnership with representatives from various government agencies, industry, academia, philanthropy, labor, and the community. The plan was divided into 3 overall pillars which were further broken down into 10 recommendations that would be enacted to achieve a better workforce development system in New York City.

The recent report provides an update for each of the ten recommendations, outlining the work that has been done so far and what is to come: 

Building the skills employers seek

Recommendation 1: Launch or expand Industry Partnerships with real-time feedback loops in six sectors: healthcare, technology, industrial/manufacturing, and construction, which will focus on training more New Yorkers for jobs with career potential, and retail and food service, which will focus on improving the quality of low-wage occupations.

Update: The report highlights NYACH’s progress, citing work with our Partners Council to  develop a common agenda and set of objectives, as well as our eight realigned curriculum and 12 new industry-informed trainings that have already connected over 1,000 New Yorkers to jobs or promotions. It also discusses the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline’s new industry advisory board and their achievements in realigning and developing curriculum which has connected more than 250 workers to jobs and internships in the technology field. Industry Partnerships in  the fields of Construction, Industrial/Manufacturing, and Retail are in the process of launching now.

Recommendation 2: Establish Career Pathways as the framework for the City’s workforce system

Update: Since the launch of this report the Human Resources Administration is moving away from the rapid-attachment model to a population specific model, with an emphasis on training and building skills. The Department of Small Business Services has set the job quality standard of full time employment or $11.50 per hour for all recruiters working at their Workforce1 Career Centers. Finally, the Department of Youth and Community Development is piloting bridge programs and investing in training. 

Recommendation 3: Invest $60 million annually by 2020 in bridge programs that prepare low-skill job-seekers for entry-level work and middle-skill job training.

Update: Over the past year WKDEV has focused on providing resources and assistance to support those with the design of bridge programs and to support workforce agencies in implementing bridge programs. The update highlights NYACH’s expanded bridge work in 2015 which included our ESL Bridge to Medical Assistant Training and High School Equivalency Bridge to Medical Assistant Training, as well as our support of the ESL Bridge to Home Health Aide Training program in partnership with 199SEIU Home Care Education Fund and CEO.

Recommendation 4: Triple the City’s training investment to $100 million annually by 2020 in career-track, middle-skill occupations, including greater support for incumbent workers who are not getting ahead.

Update: Through FY16 the City has invested $54.3 million of the $100 million goal into trainings including medical assistant at CUNY and four new tech trainings that do not require prior experience in the field.

Recommendation 5: Improve and expand CTE and college preparedness programs, adjust CUNY’s alternative credit policy, and invest in career counseling to increase educational persistence and better support students’ long-term employment prospects.

Update: Updates include the DOE working with Industry Partnerships to increase industry connection and CUNY developing new policy for for earning credits and converting non-credits to credits. CUNY is also in the process of expanding its Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative to 25,000 students over the next four years.

Recommendation 6: Increase work-based learning opportunities for youth and high-need job-seekers.

Update: The Center for Youth Employment has projected supporting 76.7 thousand jobs, internships and mentorships in FY16, of its 100,000 jobs per year goal. Other progress includes increased career exposure for youth and enhancing partnerships between CUNY and DOE, and Industry Partners to create opportunities for students.

Improving job quality

Recommendation 7: Create a standard that recognizes high-road employers who have good business practices, with the goal of assessing at least 500 local businesses by the end of 2015.

Update: The New York City Economic Development Corporation launched Best for NYC, a campaign and set of resources intended to support businesses in assessing and improving their business practices that enhance job quality. Businesses that work to improve their practices have the opportunity to compete for the Best for NYC Awards in 2016.

Recommendation 8: Improve the conditions of low-wage work by expanding access to financial empowerment resources in partnership with at least 100 employers and pursuing legislative changes such as increasing the minimum wage.

Update: The NYC Department of Consumer (DCA) affairs expanded its tax season campaign and launched its financial empowerment campaign. DCA assisted more than 150,000 New Yorkers in filing tax returns in 2015. Additionally, the Fair Chance Act law was enacted, making it illegal for employers to reject qualified candidates based only on their criminal records. The City is also in the process of pursing control over the local minimum wage and the Human Resources Administration is reviewing the application for transitional benefits.

Increasing system and policy coordination

Recommendation 9: Maximize local job opportunities through the City’s contracts and economic development investments by establishing a “First Source” hiring process and enforcing targeted hiring provisions in social service contracts.

Update: HireNYC, an initiative that expands targeted hiring programs and creates new guidelines for employers working in some capacity with the City, was launched in October 2015.

Recommendation 10: Reimburse workforce agencies on the basis of job quality instead of the quantity of job placements by aligning service providers under a system-wide data infrastructure that measures job outcomes such as full-time work, wage growth, and job continuity.

Update: Since the launch of the plan, WKDEV has finalized a set of 13 metrics as well as a set of common definitions across all City workforce programs. The plan for developing unified service standards and new guidelines based on job quantity is underway.

More information is available at