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ERIC Number: ED517502
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 54
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Closing the Skills Gap: A Blueprint for Preparing New York City's Workforce to Meet the Evolving Needs of Employers
Fischer, David Jason; Reiss, Jeremy
Center for an Urban Future
While public attention remains focused on the highest unemployment numbers in a generation, New York City is drifting toward a structural crisis with which policy makers could be grappling long after the recession fades to a bad memory. Even as the concerns about financial capital that spurred the downturn begin to subside, public officials must turn their efforts toward ensuring that the city's stock of human capital--its most vital economic resource through good times and bad--continues to grow. Over the long term, human capital--the skills, educational attainments, talents, and creativity of a workforce--is the single most important determinant of a community's economic success or failure. Nowhere is this more true than in New York: virtually every industry most crucial to the city's current and future prosperity, from finance to health care to information technology, relies upon a robust supply of highly educated and skilled employees. But there are reasons to fear that as the economy offers ever-greater rewards for accumulating human capital--and ever-harsher punishments for communities that fail to do so--New York is starting to fall behind. Several key industries already expect workforce shortages in the future. Employers in other sectors anticipate new challenges in finding qualified employees as their jobs require higher levels of skills and educational attainment. An even bigger problem is that large segments of the city's workforce currently lack the skills to fully participate in the labor market, advance in their careers, and achieve economic security. Not only has this limited the pool of qualified workers for local employers, it has left alarming numbers of public assistance recipients, the formerly incarcerated, young adults, and immigrants all but permanently unemployed, underemployed, or stuck in low-wage jobs with little opportunity for advancement. These long-standing challenges were coming into focus even before the recession began. But with the city's unemployment rate now above 10 percent and long-term joblessness approaching all-time highs, the authors believe it is imperative for city policy makers to begin developing and implementing a comprehensive human capital agenda immediately. This report offers just such a blueprint for the mayor and City Council. The first part of this analysis focuses on employers: what are the current and long-term skills needs of the city's business community, and which sectors are experiencing worker shortages? The second part considers the readiness of New York City's workforce: how can individuals address the significant skills gaps that exist among the city's working-age population? The report concludes with a comprehensive set of recommendations, including more than 30 specific action steps. Appendices include: (1) New York City Employment by Race, Age, and Education; and (2) Low-Wage Work in New York City. (Contains 7 charts, 2 maps, 15 tables and 150 notes.)
Center for an Urban Future. 120 Wall Street 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005. Tel: 212-479-3341; Fax: 212-344-6457; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Ira W. DeCamp Foundation; Altman Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for an Urban Future
Identifiers - Location: New York