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We are Better Together

JobsFirstNYC convened stakeholders across its expansive network on February 24, 2022, for its first Partnership Forum of 2022. This forum provided opportunities for learning and sharing amongst training providers, economic development advocates, and young adult workforce practitioners. This Partnership Forum facilitated conversations across multiple JobsFirstNYC solutions areas, sectors, and types of stakeholders working to transform systems supporting young adults and their communities in the pursuit of economic mobility. The previous Partnership Forum was held in November 2020, where partners across all community practice neighborhoods came together to discuss challenges and opportunities presented by COVID-19. This year, JobsFirstNYC seeks to continue convening with the hopes of strengthening the community of practice and resource-sharing across its partnerships.

  1. Highlights from the February 2022 Partnership Forum include: Marissa Martin, Executive Director at The Advocacy Institute, presented an overview of the fundamentals of building advocacy and policy campaigns as well as what to expect from New York state and city policy agencies based on the information that has been shared publicly to date. Marissa also gave some background on the Legislative Campaign Assessment and Tracking Tool (LCATT), which was developed to address challenges in tracking legislative advocacy.
  2. SkyHive showcased its Skills Passport labor analytics platform, which continuously collects and analyzes millions of real-time labor market data points to democratize job information. Sergey Bukharov, Chief Customer Officer at SkyHive, shared their vision for a future where every individual looking for work across any community will possess a Skills Passport that elucidates their skills journeys and seamlessly allows entry into new opportunities. JobsFirstNYC has engaged in a strategic partnership with SkyHive to work with partners to map jobseeker skills, jobs, and training across specific geographic areas and examine employment activities, advance workforce strategy, and increase effectiveness across the system.
  3. Representatives from each of JobsFirstNYC’s partnerships provided highlights on 2021 and 2022 goals:
    1. Bronx Opportunity Network (BON) – Allison Palmer, Associate Executive Director at New Settlement, shared that the partnership exceeded their 2021 new student enrollment goal in spite of community college enrollment issues. In 2022, the BON will be launching a Transfer Pilot to support student transfer from community college to a senior college.
    2. Brownsville Hub Cooperative (BHC) – Roman Jackson, Vice President at JobsFirstNYC, updated partners on the strides that have been made by the steering committee, including the establishment of a physical HUB space in Brownsville, the formalization of a partnership governance structure, and the launch of a community website filled with resources and jobs for community members. The BHC has recently hired network staff and is currently working on developing a launch event, and establishing subcommittees to help advance the partnership’s activities in the year ahead.
    3. Green Economy Network – Jennifer Dillon, Vice President of Workforce Development at The Doe Fund, shared a description of the Network and news of the partnership establishing four working groups led and supported by 37 different nonprofit organizations, city agencies, and employers in 2021 and 2022. The working groups are driving big-picture decision-making as well as progress toward achieving the partnership’s three priority goals. They are co-leading the Network’s efforts to create systems mapping and job search products, as well as advocating for the Network’s recent policy proposals.
    4. Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative (JARC) – Karen-Michelle Mirko Director of Employment and Graduate Services at The HOPE Program, highlighted the partnership’s launch campaign, JARC Week, which took place in February 2021. Looking ahead, the JARC is working towards securing a fiscal sponsor, creating more direct and culturally relevant channels that engage community business owners, and building capacity for partnership operations and for workforce needs in the West Bronx.
    5. Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN) – Roman Jackson, Vice President at JobsFirstNYC, detailed how LESEN is getting constituents prepared for hospitality jobs of the future. LESEN tackled this challenge in 2021 through the launch of a digital training program for vulnerable jobseekers and job training programs across all sectors.
    6. Transfer to Career Collaborative (T2C) Amanda Rosenblum, Senior Director of Education Solutions at JobsFirstNYC, described the expansion of the partnership’s model across the public high school system through a partnership with the DOE. T2C’s expansion also includes launching the CDOS Institute for Workforce Practitioners to expand career pathway opportunities in schools.
    7. Youth Empowerment Services Bed Stuy (YBS) – Hanjy Charles, Program Director at CAMBA, shared the success of their Youth Committee’s  2021 strategy to train young adults on job-readiness skills and prepare them to become community leaders. YBS seeks to hire a Youth Engagement Coordinator in 2022 to scale efforts of serving young adults in the Bed Stuy community.
    8. Youth WINS (Workforce Initiative Network of Staten Island – Michael DeVito, Executive Director at NYCID, highlighted the advocacy committee’s recent work, which includes drafting a letter to municipal officials, creating the partnership’s first policy agenda, holding a city council candidate debate, and facilitating a Staten Island Borough President Candidate Forum. Based on significant traction made on the advocacy front, Youth WINS is planning to build a network service hub in 2022 while cultivating relationships with advanced education providers.
  4. Attendees participated in Hot Topic Discussions that reflected the most pressing issues partners are currently facing in their work. Breakout room groups responded to the questions: “What is one strategy, tool, or best practice you’ve used to address this topic?” and “What is one question or challenge you still have about this topic?”. Most pertinent hot topics were: 
    1. Re-engaging with young people and/or community members,
    2. Building relationships with employers,
    3. Best/proven practices for collaborating around fundraising, gathering community resources, and other opportunities,
    4. Strategies for going “back-to-normal” post-COVID, and
    5. Stakeholder engagement within a partnership.
  5. JobsFirstNYC is launching a Policy Committee and has shared an open call for members of each partnership to join. The goal of this committee is to identify and promote opportunities to shape public perception and raise awareness of strategies that enhance systems supporting out-of-school, out-of-work young adults in New York City. Nominations are still open to join the Policy Committee, via the following link: JobsFirstNYC’s Policy Committee Application.

JobsFirstNYC invites all partners to join us at the next Partnership Forum taking place in October 2022. As we continue to observe how the new administrations at the city, state, and federal levels will support workforce development and out of school, out of work young adults. The next forum will feature a NYATEP (New York Association for Training and Employment Professionals) presentation on the recent state budget that was approved and provide key insights on issues they continue to advocate for. Partners will also have the opportunity to build on the pertinent issues discussed at the February event and hear from partners about the best practices to advance the work. We look forward to another morning of lively conversation with our partners!

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