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Using the lessons learned from our on-the-ground practice and robust research, we shape innovative policies that improve access to economic opportunities.

Policy Priorities

New York City Policy Priorities

Build a Single-System Strategy for Out-of-School, Out-of-Work Young Adults:  In 2017, we supported the New York City Council in passing resolution 708-A establishing a task force on disconnected youth that would be charged with developing a plan to reduce the number of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults in New York City. In February 2019, the task force convened for the first time. As a member of this task force, JobsFirstNYC advocates for a single-system strategy that provides a continuum of services for out-of-school, out-of-work young adults.

A single-system strategy embraces four key elements:


Data Informed

Uses and shares data to (1) determine level and type of investment, (2) inform strategies for specific subgroups, and (3) measure system effectiveness.


Coordinated Funding

Aligns public and private funding to coordinate all services and opportunities.


Easy User Access

Keeps the end-user in mind by fostering a “no wrong door” approach and having a “one-stop shop” online platform and service delivery model that connects young adults to opportunities according to their interests, skills, and needs.


Responsive Program Design

Features longer on-ramps and off-ramps connected to social services and case management support that more accurately reflects the intensive needs of out-of-school, out-of-work young adults.

By supporting young adults across a continuum, such a system should:


Intervene while young adults who are most at risk of becoming out of school and out of work are in high school.


Connect current out of school, out of work young adults to education and employment opportunities.


Advance young adults who are marginally connected to education and employment opportunities to ensure their financial security and independence.

New York State Policy Priorities

In 2018, we co-led the Invest In Skills NY campaign, which was successful in securing a commitment from Governor Cuomo to:

  • Invest $175 million of state resources in workforce development activities managed through a new consolidated funding application. 
  • Establish a state-level Office of Workforce Development. 
  • Build a robust data system. 
  • Create a one-stop-shop online platform for job seekers and employers.

To support this momentum, Invest In Skills NY published a policy paper outlining how New York State can build a 21st-century workforce development system by taking three critical steps:

  • Empower leadership. Set statewide goals. Develop a plan. 
  • Build a career pathways system.
  • Build a 21st-century data infrastructure.

Invest In Skills NY

In 2017, JobsFirstNYC, the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP), and Young Invincibles co-launched the Invest in Skills NY campaign, a first-of-its-kind advocacy campaign targeting New York State lawmakers to invest in developing a regionally organized, well-funded, and data-driven 21st-century workforce development system. Funded by the New York Community Trust, the NYC Workforce Funders, and the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, Invest in Skills NY is the main vehicle by which JobsFirstNYC advances its research-based and solution-informed policy agenda. In early 2018, Invest in Skills NY added the New York City Employment and Training Coalition to launch a New York City-focused campaign.

Invest in Bridge Programs in New York City: In 2019, Invest in Skills NYC launched the Bridges to Better Jobs campaign, which brought together providers and advocates from across New York City to advocate for an investment of $60 million in bridge programs, fulfilling a promise made by Mayor de Blasio outlined in the 2014 Career Pathways Report. Bridge programs are hybrid educational programs with a career focus that enable people with low literacy or numeracy levels to access training programs and employment. Check out our one-pager titled Bridges to Better Jobs.

Success Highlights


secured to launch the NY State Workforce Development Initiative

Advance andEarn

Program launched

Mayor'sTask Force

Mayor’s Disconnected Youth Task Force launched

Let's scale what works. Get Involved.

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