V. Promote a Workforce Agenda for the New Economy

Scientific discovery and technological development will continue to propel job growth in emerging industries and transform the workforce requirements in traditional industries.
  • A workforce that learns to adapt and acquire new skills rapidly lends itself to innovation and is critical to achieving economic growth.
  • We must ensure that the jobs of the future are made available to all New Yorkers regardless of race, gender, or other discriminatory distinctions and that they pay fair wages in a safe work environment.
  • Training for incumbent workers must primarily be provided through strategic partnership net- works, industry clusters or associations in order to maximize the impact of the State’s investment and to ensure effectiveness and efficiency.
The Assembly Majority’s workforce agenda begins with a strong commitment to higher standards in education and maintaining the State’s quality higher education system. Our commitment is coupled with an understanding that technical skills are now needed by workers in almost every industry.

Funding school-to-work partnerships involving education and businesses, stimulating apprenticeships, the Strategic Training Alliance Program, contract courses, and a program for post-secondary and graduate student internships in high-tech industries are important additions to our commitment to a strong workforce.

  1. Strategic Training Alliance Program
The Strategic Training Alliance Program was created by the Assembly in 1998. It was intended to address the business community’s need for a flexible, user-friendly incumbent worker training program. Since the program was amended in 1999, however, it has been mired in bureaucracy with two State agencies vying to jointly administer it. The Assembly Majority’s plan would return the program to its original purpose.
  1. Apprenticeship
    $5 million
Apprenticeships provide opportunities for skills development in a broad range of occupations. The Assembly plan would expand the use of registered apprenticeships in all occupations in programs certified by the New York State Department of Labor and it would encourage the development of new apprenticeships in technology fields. The Assembly proposal raises the reimbursement for currently enrolled apprentices to the level required in statute and allow for program expansion.

The Assembly Majority also recognizes that it is important to increase outreach into the high schools to provide information on apprenticeship options. The Assembly plan links the building and construction trades and local boards of education with graduates to develop apprenticeship opportunities.

  1. Internships
    $2 million
A high-tech internship program for post-secondary and graduate students would enable higher education institutions to develop intensive workshops that would provide students with exposure to simulated work situations. The Assembly plan would retain New York’s higher education graduates by linking them with employers in New York that offer well paying jobs, particularly in technology.
  1. Community College Contract Courses
    $2 million
Community colleges, in both the SUNY and CUNY systems, are important sources of assistance for employers looking for skills training. The Contract Course Program, linking campuses and area employers, provides customized, “on demand” training support within a very quick response time. Businesses can also use the program to address the need for “continuous” training. The Assembly proposal reinvigorates this valuable program.
  1. School-to-Work
Businesses and educators alike recognize that reaching students early in their academic experience helps students identify areas of interest that can be used to guide youth both into higher education and the workforce. The Assembly plan establishes a statewide program to bring together secondary schools and businesses providing students with information on occupations and career opportunities through the involvement of businesses in mentoring, work experience opportunities, curriculum support, and summer teacher placements.
  1. "Bringing Them Back Home/Growing Our Own"
    $1 million
To address skill shortages in some occupations, the Assembly Majority’s plan creates “Bring Them Back Home/Grow Our Own,” a program that would attract and retain New York talent for New York employers. This initiative supports an integrated program in school districts that would make parents, students and teachers aware of employment opportunities.

An enhanced web site that would give talented workers everywhere an opportunity to learn of the diverse employment opportunities in the State — directly from the employers — would help in the recruitment of skilled workers.

  1. Community Training Centers
    $1 million
The Assembly plan supports technology training centers operated by community-based organizations that provide individuals, particularly minorities and women, with instruction in computer skills and other technical skills. The centers would use state-of-the-art technology, giving communities a resource not only for skills training but also for adult education programs, small business services, and communications.
  1. Workforce Development Initiative
    $1.3 million
The Workforce Development Initiative (WDI) has helped to improve the business and employment climate in Central New York by training workers to fill manufacturing jobs and connecting businesses with trained workers. This initiative also includes WorkKeys, a national program developed by the American College Testing Service, that enables businesses and educational institutions to work together to build a highly skilled, highly motivated workforce.

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