In May 2012, we published Now Hiring, a report which identified a number of occupations that offer good career prospects for young adults without a college degree but highlighted several obstacles that could prevent these New Yorkers from getting hired. The city’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) has recently adopted two of our report’s recommendations.
Our report found that while the city was having some success with sector-based approaches to workforce development, these efforts had almost entirely focused on adults. We recommended that they be adapted to better serve young adults as well. The city has begun doing just that. CEO partnered with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to subsidize the cost of industry certifications for in-demand occupations for students in select Career and Technical Education programs and Adult Education schools. In total, the pilot paid for 885 exams, of which over 80 percent were passed. Exams subsidized ranged in cost from as low as $25 for the New York State Fire Department Exam to $360 for A+ certification. Other certifications included the National Automotive Student Skills Standards Assessment, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Adobe Certified Associate.
Our Now Hiring report also documented another, more surprising barrier to employment for young adults: their lack of a driver’s license. Our research found that a number of the occupations expected to grow in the years ahead—including many for which driving a vehicle is not part of the job—require workers to have a driver’s license, something that few young adults in New York have. We recommended that the city provide assistance to young adults in obtaining a driver's license. CEO ran with the idea, recently announcing that it will partner with DOE on a pilot program to subsidize the cost of driver’s license preparation and exams. Approximately 200 high school seniors will be served.