Policy Memos: Developing a Single System Strategy for New York City’s Out of School, Out of Work Young Adults

In 2017, JobsFirstNYC worked with the New York City Council to pass resolution 708-A, establishing a task force on disconnected youth charged with developing a plan to reduce the number of out of school, out of work (OSOW) young adults in New York City. This February, the task force convened for the first time. As a member of the task force, JobsFirstNYC is releasing a series of Policy Memos, outlining the steps to building a single-system strategy, which will provide a full continuum of services for OSOW young adults.

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Today, JobsFirstNYC released, Developing a Single-System Strategy for New York City’s Out-of-School, Out-of-Work Young Adults. This is the first in a series of policy memos which outline a strategy for New York City to address the needs of the out-of-school, out-of-work young adult population who, despite an overall decline in the number and share, face even greater barriers today in an economy that increasingly requires more skills and education. These include young adults with disabilities, mental health challenges, housing and food insecurity issues, and criminal justice involvement. JobsFirstNYC is working to advance this approach as a member of the recently launched New York City Disconnected Youth Task Force led by Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson charged with breaking down barriers young adults face to accessing opportunity and leverages them as part of New York City’s untapped talent pool.

This memo, calls on city policymakers to build a single-system strategy that (1) is data-informed, (2) aligns resources across government and private sector, (3) ensures programs are easy to access, and (4) is responsive to both the market needs of the economy and the needs of young adults across a full continuum of workforce and employment services. This approach starts with early intervention in high school to stem the inflow of young adults becoming disengaged, emphasizes connection to employment services for young adults currently not in school and not working, and supports the advancement of young adults marginally connected to school or work to move beyond their current circumstance.

Policy Memos is a JobsFirstNYC publication series designed to provide guidance to New York City’s Disconnected Youth Task Force. Informed by JobsFirstNYC’s 12-plus years of experience in developing innovative partnerships, this series analyzes best practices in developing systemic approaches to reducing the number of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults in cities across the country. Policy Memos builds off of other JobsFirstNYC publications, including our Innovations in the Field series, Unleashing the Economic Power of the 35 Percent, and Barriers to Entry: Fewer Out-of-School, Out-of-Work Young Adults, as Warning Signs Emerge report (co-published with the Community Service Society of New York). This effort is supported by the Invest In Skills NY coalition, which is a partnership led by JobsFirstNYC, the New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals, and the New York City Employment and Training Coalition.

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