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Equitable Recovery for Young Adults: An Agenda for Young Adult Workforce Development in New York City

Our latest report, Equitable Recovery for Young Adults: An Agenda for Young Adult Workforce Development in New York City provides a set of citywide policy priorities rooted in the real needs of young people, the perspectives of on-the-ground practitioners, and the literature on successful policies and interventions. It details the changes needed to quickly connect 18- to 24-year-olds to employment now and to effectively prepare them for the future of work in a rapidly shifting, increasingly virtual economy. It builds on JobsFirstNYC’s comprehensive, system-level view of the City’s young adult workforce ecosystem. Finally, it proposes an actionable, realistic, and timebound framework to foster citywide systems change in the young adult workforce development field.

Equitable Recovery for Young Adults

Download the Executive Summary

New York City needs to act swiftly to reduce the number of 18- to 24-year-olds who are out of school and out-of-work; to connect these young adults to training, education, and work opportunities; and to advance them along educational and career pathways. To this end, our report outlines six recommendations for the city that were informed by a diverse coalition of young adult workforce development and education stakeholders and 18- to 24-year-olds. To enact these recommendations, JobsFirstNYC calls for a $770 million increase in annual investment by New York City.

  1. Collaboration: Encourage and reward collaboration across young adult workforce programs and providers.
  2. Focus on Equity: Prioritize economic mobility and pathways to prosperity for historically under-resourced and disproportionately harmed communities.
  3. Employer Partnerships: Significantly expand partnerships with employers and industry groups to create employment and career pathway opportunities.
  4. Continuum of Services: Create a seamless continuum of integrated services across education and youth workforce development institutions.
  5. Youth-Centered Strategies: Design youth-informed solutions that center young adults, their experiences, and goals.
  6. Capacity Building: Build the capacity of workforce providers to deliver high-quality, culturally competent, market-aligned services to young adults.

This proposed funding would support:

  • $100 million for bridge programming
  • $150 million for sectoral training
  • $357 million for subsidized jobs
  • $105 million for high school degree attainment and career preparation
  • $58 million for capacity building and system enhancements
Equitable Recovery for Young Adults

Download the Full Report

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed and exacerbated many inequities, from health outcomes to economic outcomes. The pandemic has also accelerated the future of work, namely increased remote work and the displacement of workers by automation. Research has shown that 18- to 24-year-old workers in New York City are 35% more likely to have lost work than all other workers since the pandemic began and that young adults and people of color were disproportionately employed in the city’s hardest-hit industries. The latest data from labor market analytics firm Chmura shows that 1 in 4 18- to 24-year-olds were out of school and out of work in 2020, totaling over 183,000 individuals.

JobsFirstNYC and young adult service providers across New York City are more committed now than ever to ensuring that all young adults, and especially those who are out of school and out of work, have the resources, skills, and opportunities they need and deserve to find success in work and in life.


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