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Adapting to the Future of Work – Summary & Highlights

On July 20, 2016, JobsFirstNYC convened together 175 employers, business intermediaries, trade associations, nonprofits, public agencies, and local philanthropies to consider how New York City businesses can adapt to advances in technology, changing economic trends, and demographic shifts by creating cost-effective talent development pipelines. In partnership with Young Invincibles, we hosted a full-day of panels with a morning Business Breakfast and an afternoon Executive Session. Throughout the day, we heard from panelists about internal talent pipeline development, multi-sector partnerships, employer engagement, possible evolutions of the nonprofit, and the ever-mysterious on-demand economy. While some of the topics covered were new for JobsFirstNYC events, and some familiar, all of our panels and speakers grounded their message in how to leverage different resources to best help out-of-school, out-of-work 16-24 year olds access economic opportunities.

During our Business Breakfast, we heard about internal pipeline development from Russ Cusick, Chief People Officer, North America at Swiss Post Solutions; Gail Gershon, Executive Director of Community Leadership at Gap Inc.; and Ali Marano, Head of Technology for Social Good at JPMorgan Chase on a panel moderated by Alan Momeyer, JobsFirstNYC’s Board Chair and former Vice President of Human Resources at Loews Corporation. Later, Garrett Moran, President of Year Up; Yvonne Myers, Health Systems Director for Columbine Health Systems; Liddy Romero, Executive Director of WorkLife Partnership; and Varun Sanyal, Project Manager of Economic Development at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce spoke on a panel on multi-sector partnerships moderated by Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of the Center for an Urban Future. Finally, Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships addressed the crowd on the importance of partnering and helping NYC’s out-of-school and -work population by building effective, accessible pipelines.

In our afternoon Executive Session, Steven Dawson, Visiting Fellow at The Pinkerton Foundation and founder of PHI, spoke in conversation with Lou Miceli, Executive Director of JobsFirstNYC about employer engagement and the series of papers the Pinkerton Foundation has commissioned Steven to write around the important topic. Garrett Moran and Liddy Romero then presented, this time talking about the Evolution of Nonprofits and where sustainability might be headed with Janet Van Liere, Director of the Community Jobs Program and the Alternative Staffing Alliance at the ICA Group and panel moderator John Macintosh, Partner and Board Member of SeaChange Capital Partners. Finally, Angie Kamath, Executive Director of Social Ventures and Innovation at Per Scholas moderated a conversation between Sarah Leberstein, Senior Staff Attorney at the National Employment Law Project and Chris Schildt, Senior Associate at PolicyLink around the on-demand economy and its implication for young jobseekers and workers.

During a share-out session moderated by Lou Miceli, people shared realizations that nonprofits must constantly adapt and evolve to survive, the dangers of pushing young people into the rocky waters of the “on-demand” economy without proper guidance, and the necessity of building sustainability into nonprofit programs to ensure their long-term survival.

On July 21st, we brought together more than 250 young New Yorkers to discuss the changing economy, future workforce trends, and economic equity. This conference for the future talent of NYC was framed in three tiers: “Me, My Community, and My City.” Throughout the day, the program was designed to build upon earlier lessons learned, thereby expanding the dialogue beyond merely what the future of work might look like into how to shape what it could and should be.

Featured speakers included Shawn Blanchard, Author and Mentorship Specialist, who spoke on overcoming obstacles by reframing your perspective; Commissioner Bill Chong of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development who spoke to his experiences that lead him towards acting as Commission of DYCD; Shayna Strom, Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation who contextualized the abstract concept of the gig economy; and Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, Author and Motivational Specialist, who reminded the audience that their talent is a valuable resource should they choose to tap it. Additionally, spoken word artist Najee Omar addressed equity and access and their necessary relation to the Future of Work, and Program Facilitator Paul Ortega, National Director of Training and Organizational Development at Swiss Post Solutions lead a sharing session, addressing such important questions as “How might one, as a minority, operate within a corporate environment without sacrificing identity?”  Panels on July 21st included one around entrepreneurship and social enterprise featuring Lamont Hill, Manager of Reconnect Graphics; Derrius Quarles, Founder and CEO of Million Dollar Scholar; and Jerelyn Rodriguez, Co-Founder and CEO of The Knowledge House moderated by Tony Gaston as well as one consisting of Council Member Carlos Menchaca of District 38 and Council Member Antonio Reynoso of District 34 moderated by Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles.

During two breakout sessions, participants had an opportunity to interact with in smaller groups and learn from amazing educators. During the morning session, our “Employment and the Future of Work” sessions included: Swiss Post Solution’s award-winning training and development team’s Landing the Job: How to have a Successful Internship and Secure the Job; Panelists Derrius and Jerelyn’s Bossing Up: Advice for Stating a Business While Young; The LAMP’s #DontInstagramThat: Managing Your Digital Identity; Green City Force and Solar City’s Building Things that Save the World: Green Energy Jobs for the Future; and Cousin Connection’s Publishing’s Building Your Own Brand: How Two Cousins Self-Published and Self-Promoted their way to Success. The afternoon sessions, framed around “Advocacy, Equity, and the Future of Work” included: Million Hoodies for Justice’s Black Lives, Institution Building, and the Future of Work; Make the Road’s #QueerResilience from the Streets to the Workforce; The Roosevelt Institute’s Rewriting the Rules: Can a Shift in the Rules Help Change the Future of Our Economy?; Opportunity Youth United’s Building yOUR Advocacy Platform: yOUR Voice as Action; and finally, Youth Represent’s Know Your Rights: Combating Employment Discrimination.

JobsFirstNYC and Young Invincibles would like to thank the following workshop presenters, steering committee members, and volunteers for their invaluable contributions:

  • Jamiel L. Alexander, Aspen Institute: Forum for Community Solutions & YouthBuild USA-PA
  • Cordelia Alfred, Director of Human Resources, Swiss Post Solutions
  • Aman Banerji, Senior Program Associate, Roosevelt Institute
  • Andy Bowen, Policy Analyst, United Neighborhood Houses
  • Emily Brown
  • Mara Cerezo, Director of Career and Alumni Services, Green City Force
  • Luba Cortes, Youth Leader, Make the Road New York
  • Claire Cuno, LMSW, Navigator, Per Scholas
  • Eric Eingold, Staff Attorney, Youth Represent
  • Ashley Felix, Photographer
  • Annie Garneva, Director, Communications and Membership Services, NYCETC
  • Henry Gonzalez, Community Organizer, Million Hoodies for Justice
  • Zenzele Johnson, Education Associate, The LAMP
  • Jesse Laymon, Director of Policy and Advocacy, NYCETC,
  • Nahorju Lynch
  • Xerxses Morris
  • Paul Ortega, National Director of Training & Organizational Development, Swiss Post Solutions
  • Evelyn Ortiz, Director of Government Affairs & Community Partnerships, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
  • Michael Parker, YouthBuild
  • Derrius Quarles, CEO, Million Dollar Scholar
  • Teresa Rivera, Public Allies
  • Jerelyn Rodriguez, Co-Founder and CEO, The Knowledge House
  • Jose Velez, Director of Information Technology, Swiss Post Solutions
  • D.C. Vito, Executive Director, The LAMP
  • Claudia von Nostitz, FAO Schwarz Family Foundation Fellow, Reading Partners
  • Brittany Watts, Field Energy Consultant, Solar City
  • Jarell Wilson, Illustrator, Cousin Connections Publishing
  • Mya Wilson, Author, Cousin Connections Publishing
  • Angelica Wong

Additionally, we would like to thank everyone who attended one or both days of our Adapting to the Future of Work convening, as well as all of our presenters, partners, and funders, who made this event possible. We look forward to our next event with all of you as we all work towards expanding opportunities for out-of-school, out-of-work young New Yorkers. If you were unable to join us this time, we look forward to seeing you next year!



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