For years, the Center for an Urban Future has been urging city officials to expand and improve the city’s workforce development system. Commentaries published in recent months by CUF senior fellows David Fischer and Tom Hilliard have called on the city to move from a workforce system that is overly focused on placing New Yorkers into jobs to one that concentrates more resources on helping New Yorkers build the skills needed to access decent paying jobs. “The new administration should look beyond placement, toward a new emphasis on skills building, retention and advancement,” we argued in a recent piece.
In May 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced that the city would do just that. The mayor formed the Jobs for New Yorkers Task Force that “will help shift the City’s approach to focus on employment for New Yorkers in skill-building, higher-wage jobs that offer opportunities for advancement, as opposed to job placement in low-paying sectors.” The administration invited the Center's executive director Jonathan Bowles to facilitate the task force’s discussions.