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Statement from the Invest in Skills NYC Coalition on COVID-19

This month our nation and our city are facing a public health crisis unprecedented in its scale and dangers. We are heartened to see the many ways that our communities, and our local and state leaders, have leaped into action to try to mitigate the harm of COVID-19 and prepare for its consequences. 

It is clear to us at the Invest in Skills NYC coalition that the COVID-19 outbreak, the severe restrictions and disruptions arising from it, and the long road to economic recovery that follows will be the most critical focus for the workforce development system in New York City in 2020, and probably well beyond. 

Accordingly, Invest in Skills NYC is organizing to respond to this massive new challenge, and we are developing priorities that address both the immediate concerns of the workforce community and the need for a long-term vision. Our guiding principles for tackling this new challenge are:

  • Our focus for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency itself will be on advocacy to simply help the workforce development community survive. Staff must not be laid off due to mandated closures. Clients should be served if at all possible, and above all not lose access to public benefits due to barriers created by COVID-19.
  • Our focus beyond the immediate crisis will be to embed the city’s workforce community in the heart of the recovery effort. There will be, no doubt, an enormous effort to breathe life back into the stalled economy in the nation and in New York, and we must use our voices to ensure that this effort takes into account those workers who might otherwise be ignored or left out of new opportunities, and who may need education, training and other supports to allow them to lend their energy to it.

In keeping with these principles, our core partner organizations were at the forefront of pulling together this letter to Mayor de Blasio and his deputies on March 18th. But this is only the beginning of what we know will be a long and difficult road.

Our coalition core partners are actively engaged in conversations with the City government, and we want to hear from you in the workforce development system about the challenges you’re encountering and the solutions you envision so that we can deliver those messages to those leaders and keep our community at the forefront of crisis response. That’s why we are asking you to stay connected with Invest In Skills NYC by signing up for advocacy updates.

Our hope is that New York’s workers and workforce organizations will navigate this crisis in health and in the community. We will be alongside you whatever comes next.

  • The Invest in Skills NYC Team

Invest In Skills NYC is jointly led by the New York Association for Training and Employment Professionals, JobsFirstNYC, and the New York City Employment and Training Coalition


Jesse Laymon

Kevin Stump at


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