New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer proposed a plan Wednesday to revamp the city’s workforce development strategy, including by making CUNY community colleges tuition-free and expanding job training opportunities for people at career crossroads.
The pandemic has decimated jobs in New York City — with unemployment at roughly 16%, though some estimates say the “real” figure is much higher — and shifted forecasts about the future of industries across the board. Advocates and policymakers are looking for ways to ensure available education and job training opportunities align with market changes. Stringer, a Democrat who is running for mayor in the 2021 election, says his proposal will help guarantee the city’s fiscal recovery includes underserved communities, who have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s economic fallout.
“My plan overhauls and modernizes our approach to job training, job placement, and education to reflect the evolution of work and aims to break down systemic barriers that have historically excluded women, people of color, immigrants and young people from higher-wage industries,” Stringer said in a statement. “As we emerge from this economic crisis, we need to work with CUNY and other engines of economic mobility to build a pipeline of opportunity for the next generation and live up to a promise that anyone can make it in New York City.”
On top of making community college tuition-free, Stringer’s plan calls for enhancements to the city’s disjointed and underfunded patchwork of job readiness, technical training, and skill-bridging programs. It proposes greater public investment and coordination among those programs, as well as private sector partnerships to encourage hiring practices that could promote diversity.