Training Today’s Workers for Tomorrow’s Jobs
The Sector Approach
In 2004, several members of the New York City Workforce Funders joined forces with the New York City Department of Small Business Services to make workforce development services in the City more effective.
Their first joint effort, the New York City Sectors Initiative, identified industries needing skilled workers, including health care and biotechnology.
Hundreds of job seekers benefited from training and found jobs with promotion potential. The City ultimately adopted a sector approach for several of its large workforce centers.
Low job skills mean low pay—or no job at all. In our increasingly information-based economy, many jobs require skills workers don’t have. One in four working families depends on jobs offering low salaries, marginal benefits, and little chance for advancement or financial security.
The New York City Workforce Funders, a network of 40 foundations and corporate philanthropies housed at The New York Community Trust, aims to improve employment opportunities for less-skilled job seekers through grantmaking and partnerships with the public sector. The Workforce Funders works with government and community organizations, labor unions, and job trainers to make the City’s workforce development system more responsive to the needs of workers and employers.
The job market has seen dramatic shifts during the past several years. As manufacturing and construction jobs disappear, other businesses are growing and need qualified workers. One such area is health care, which is undergoing rapid change triggered by public policy reforms, new technology, and an aging population. More than 20,000 health care jobs were created in New York between 2009 and 2011—but hospitals struggle to recruit and train qualified lab technicians, nurses, and medical assistants. Other areas of growth include New York’s transportation industry, which needs aviation mechanics, service technicians, and other skilled workers; and the biotechnology sector, which needs laboratory and research technicians.
Effective workforce strategies benefit both workers and employers. Read below how the Fund’s unique programs put people to work and change lives.