Majorie D. Parker. Photo: JobsFirstNYC
At least 40 million people filed unemployment benefit claims as a result of the economic disruption of Covid-19, leading some to compare the impact to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Here in New York City a report, “The Early Impact of Covid-19 on Young Adult Workforce Development in NYC
,” by JobsFirstNYC
examines the impact of the crisis on young adults, including those from Black and Brown communities that are disproportionately impacted.
“We want to make sure that the plight of young New Yorkers, and the institutions that serve them, are not forgotten in this crisis,” President and CEO of JobsFirstNYC Majorie D. Parker said in an email statement to the Black Star News. “We needed to hear directly from the institutions serving these young adults and elevate their voices to investors such as government, private philanthropy, and others.” JobsFirstNYC is a leading member of the Invest in Skills NY
coalition, which is an advocate for creating a stronger and more equitable workforce system at both the city and state level.
“Thousands of Black and Brown New Yorkers from under-resourced communities access workforce development services for skills training that can connect them to a better paying job,” Ms. Parker told Black Star News. “If we want to connect lower-income New Yorkers to economic opportunities, then the institutions that serve them need unrestricted resources and flexibility to work with employers to respond to this crisis.”
The report, released on May 18th, is broken into 4 sections: 7 insights from the study, 3 questions that were probed by the study, 6 intermediate-term recommendations, and a long-term recommendation. The intermediate-term recommendations include investment in mental health and counseling services as well as investment in building partnerships directly between the workforce and educational systems. Another important point made in the intermediate-term recommendations is that the young adult workforce development advocacy that does take place must emphasize low-income communities to create more equitable solutions.
The recommendations put forth in the report “are not optional but rather a social and economic imperative,” Ms. Parker said. JobsFirstNYC also remains “optimistic” that while the Mayor has not been a real “champion” for NYC’s young adults, the leadership needed to see JobsFirstNYC’s vision through will “rise to the occasion.” For the long-term, JobsFirstNYC wants more attention to focus on collaboration, joint advocacy, and investment in the young adult population in the post-COVID-19 era. Some recommendations include: hold the line on cutting funding for critical programs and convert current funding to general operating support for at least the next year; map in-demand skills and partner with employers to develop new strategies to improve educational and training programs for young adults; develop a large scale advocacy campaign calling for significant investment in big ideas that emphasize low-income communities.
In order for these recommendations that this report puts forth to actually be implemented, they will continue hosting online forums educating leaders across the city, advocating for reform to be made, and forging new partnerships that “leverage limited resources” to ensure that “young adults are not left behind in this recovery like they were just 10 years ago.” “The pandemic has caused one-third of 18-to-24 year-olds to lose their jobs so far, which is higher than the city’s overall job-less rate of 26%,” the report states. “Prior to COVID-19, while the economy was seemingly strong, the statewide young adult unemployment rate—which measures those without a job but who are actively looking for work—was 20.7% for 16-to-19-year-olds and 11.6% for 20-to-24-year-olds.”