Job Training & Career Education Issues

from the NYS Assembly Legislative Commission on
Skills Development and Career Education
Various Photos Message from the Chair Assemblyman Scarborough

Dear Friend:

Issues relating to the workforce and working families are prominent in discussions in the State Legislature as we continue the budget process. Expanding workforce opportunities and stimulating economic growth are important objectives of the Assembly Majority Conference. The Budget Resolution adopted by the Assembly promotes programs and activities designed to enhance the skills of New Yorkers in the labor force. The future of our communities rests upon the skill of workers and the creation of jobs in the "New Economy."

As you will read, the Commission has been quite busy since I became Chairman. I have focused staff on developing programs that will lead participants into good, long-term employment. Our budget proposals include training in technology fields and access to traditional apprenticeships that will prepare individuals for jobs in the economy’s growth sectors. The delivery of training and job assistance has also improved significantly. One-stop centers authorized under the federal Workforce Investment Act are state-of-the-art facilities in our communities which help people get skills and jobs whether they are new entrants to the labor force, currently unemployed, or employed but looking to the future.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the issues discussed in this newsletter. I will continue to work on your behalf, advocating for jobs and for resources for skills development.

William Scarborough
Chair, Legislative Commission on
Skills Development & Career Education

Assembly hearing on summer employment program

The New York State Assembly held a March 2nd hearing on summer youth employment in New York City at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Held jointly with the Standing Committees on Social Services, Children and Families, Labor, and the Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education, the hearing focused on summer employment opportunities for participating teens and the positive effect of work experiences on future employment prospects. Individuals from community-based organizations, educational institutions, labor organizations and businesses participated.

The federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), which became effective on July 1st 2000, ended the stand-alone summer jobs program which was funded under the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). This program had served up to 60,000 youths across the state each year, with over 35,000 youths participating annually in New York City alone. WIA requires youth programs to provide year-round services, and with no additional funds, many local areas would reduce the number of youth served in the summer. Without a federally funded stand-alone summer jobs program, tens of thousands of New York teens face a summer without the opportunity to work. The Assembly is working to establish a stand-alone summer employment program that will be a permanent solution to what has been a recurring problem.

The Assembly fought for and secured $35 million in funding for a summer jobs program last year. This money proved to be vital to the continuation of summer youth employment opportunities for young people across the state. This year, the Governor’s initial budget submission did not include any funding for the summer jobs program. After much criticism, the Governor finally included $25 million in funding as part of his amended budget.

The Assembly does not believe the Governor’s addition has gone far enough. This year, the Assembly will seek $40 million in funding to support a summer jobs program. Legislation has been introduced to create a stand-alone summer employment program that would complement other youth programs around the state.

Enhancing the quality of NY’s workforce and meeting the needs of businesses

Labor force quality and quantity have emerged as critical issues here in New York. Shortages of skilled workers are common across the state and affect several industries. Employers have publicly stated that the condition of New York’s workforce is a major concern. An inability to hire enough workers with the requisite skills could restrain the State’s future economic growth.

Increasing the size and enhancing the quality of the workforce through programs designed to provide and upgrade skills is one way to strengthen the State’s economy. The New York State Assembly continues to take the lead on workforce issues via initiatives in education and training that would benefit both workers and businesses. The following is a description of some of the bills in the 2001-02 Legislative Session that promote and support job training and career education.

Summer Employment Program

Summer employment is an important formative activity for young people as they transition from middle school to high school and from secondary education to employment or post-secondary education. This legislation would establish a summer employment program for the purpose of funding summer jobs for youth. The program would be administered independently of the WIA funded year-round program. Summer employment provides an opportunity for young people to gain interpersonal and employability skills that complement academic activity and that will serve employers well in the future when they have a pool of job candidates who have had some workplace experience.

The Empire State Internship Program
This legislation would create the Empire State Internship Program. The program would provide private sector workplace experiences to students, supervised by a workplace mentor and involve the direct application of skills learned in the classroom. Furthermore, these experiences would offer academic credit and a stipend. Upon successful completion of internship requirements, the student would be awarded a certificate and documentation of their achievement would be included on the student’s transcript.

Work-Based Learning Tax Deduction Act

This legislation would create a tax deduction for employers conducting work-based learning activities as part of a school-to-work workforce development strategy. The bill would allow employers who have incurred expenses connected with work-based learning activities to deduct the full amount as a business expense not otherwise allowed for federal income tax purposes. Allowable deductions would include workplace mentoring, participant stipends, materials required for the performance of the activity, and salaries or wages for staff directly involved in the activity.

Public-Private Partnerships for Student Achievement & the Workforce Development Program

The bill would establish a program coordinating the efforts of schools, businesses and other entities that link high school students with economic and work-based learning opportunities. Public-private sector partnerships successfully provide young people opportunities to engage in quality work-site learning experiences. These experiences support the efforts of educators and students to achieve higher academic standards. The public-private partnership for student achievement and workforce development program would engage businesses, communities and schools in the development of work-based experiences for students that will support achievement of the state academic standards and ensure a better prepared workforce.
If you have any questions or would like additional information about these bills, please call the Commission at (518) 455-4865.


Building a skilled workforce and helping businesses succeed

The Assembly Budget Resolution includes "Jobs Agenda 2001," a $470 million job-creation plan aimed at investing in high-tech industries, academic research and workforce training. This plan aggressively addresses the needs of New York businesses and provides the tools that will help them succeed in our new economy. The Assembly has been consistently working to create the good jobs New York families need and revitalize our economy.

The Assembly Majority’s "Jobs Agenda 2001" is a 7-point plan to overhaul New York’s economic and job-creation strategies. Funding school-to-work partnerships involving education and businesses, stimulating apprenticeships, the Strategic Training Alliance Program, community college contract courses, and a program for post-secondary and graduate student internships in high-tech industries are important components of the plan and affirm our commitment to a strong workforce. Following is a description of some of these Assembly initiatives:

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 enacted 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.

School-to-work Businesses and educators alike recognize that reaching students early in their academic experience helps them identify areas of interest that can guide youth into both higher education and the workforce. The Assembly plan establishes a statewide program to bring together secondary schools and businesses to provide students with information on occupations and career opportunities through business mentoring, work experience opportunities, curriculum support, and summer teacher placements.

Community College Contract Courses
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 with a very quick response time. Businesses can also use the program to address the need for "continuous" training.

A high-tech internship program for post-secondary and graduate students would enable higher education institutions to develop intensive workshops and provide students exposure to simulated work situations and summer internship placements. The Assembly plan would retain New York’s higher education graduates by linking them with employers that offer well paying jobs, particularly in technology.
Assemblyman Scarborough meeting with Robert M. Richards, President, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce. Assemblyman Scarborough meeting with Robert M. Richards, President, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.

Catalog of Workforce Preparation Programs

    The 2000 Catalog of Workforce Preparation Programs contains information on 75 State and Federally funded programs in 15 agencies. These programs provide education, training, and employment services to adults and youth.

    NYS Workforce Preparation Programs are designed to:

  • assist new labor force entrants and economically disadvantaged individuals;
  • upgrade skills of those already employed; and
  • acclimate those re-entering the workforce.

    For a copy of the Catalog call (518) 455-4865 or visit:

Apprenticeships provide opportunities for skills development in a broad range of occupations. The Assembly plan would expand the use of registered apprenticeships in programs certified by the New York State Department of Labor and encourage the development of new apprenticeships in technology fields. The Assembly proposal would raise the reimbursement for currently enrolled apprentices and enable program expansion.

The Assembly Majority recognizes that it is important to increase outreach to 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.

Other programs supported through the Assembly’s Budget Resolution include:
  • restoration of full funding, nearly $10 million, to the Youth Employment, Education and Training Program (YEETP);
  • $38 million for a summer employment program for youth in families with income up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level;
  • an additional $2 million from the General Fund for a summer employment program for youth; and
  • restoration of $2.12 million for Jobs for Youth programs.
Occupational growth at a glance…

  • The New York State workforce continues to expand. Between 1995 to 2000, the labor force grew by 3%, from 8,486,353 to 9,012,068 individuals. Labor force participation rates (the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and older either at work or actively seeking work) also increased as more individuals 16 and over were engaged in the workforce.
  • The female labor force participation rate was 52.7% in 1995 and increased to 57.5% in 2000. During that same period, women also became a larger part of the state’s workforce rising by over 2% from 46.7% in 1995 to 48.8% in 2000. Although male labor force participation rose much more gradually (from 70.1% to 70.7%), male presence in the workforce declined from 53.3% in 1995 to 51.2% in 2000.
  • Between 1995 and 2000, the labor force participation rate of minority groups including Blacks, Asians, and American Indians, grew by 1%, from 60.4% in 1995 to 61.4% in 2000.
  • Black, American Indian and Asian workers make up a larger share of the labor force than previously. In 2000, 79.5% of the state’s participating labor force was white, 14.9% black, and 5.6% American Indian and Asian.
  • Between 1995 to 2000, the number of individuals of Hispanic origin in the labor force grew almost 4%. The Hispanic labor force participation rate increased from 51.2% in 1995 to 63.5% in 2000.
  • The fastest growing occupations in New York State, through 2007, will be in health, education and computer-related fields. The number of new jobs for computer engineers, systems analysts, and occupational therapy assistants are expected to double in the next decade.
  • Occupations in the service, professional and technical, and administrative support categories are projected to have the most total annual openings between 1997-2007. Most of the highest paying occupations are technology, computer and science and engineering related fields.
Fastest Growing Occupations in NYS Occupations with the Most Total Openings in NYS Highest Paying Occupations in NYS
Occupation Annual Growth Rate Occupation Total # Opening Occupation Median Hourly Wage
Computer Engineers 9.4% Salespersons, Retail 79,270 Physicists & Astronomers $36.99
Systems Analysts 8.8% Cashiers 71,850 Engineering, Mathematical, Natural Sciences Managers $36.97
Electronic Pagination Systems Operators 8.1% Clerks, General Office 47,330 Police & Detective Supervisors $32.65
Paralegals 6.2% Waiters & Waitresses 40,560 Engineering Teachers $32.37
Data Processing Equipment Repairers 5.7% Food Preparation Workers 40,490 Electrical Powerline Installers & Repairers $31.53
Teachers, Special Education 5.2% Janitors & Cleaners 35,030 Frame Wirers, Central Office $30.80
Occupational Therapy Assistants 5.0% Sales Supervisors 29,470 Education Administrators $30.46
Personal Home Care Aides 4.8% Nursing Aides & Orderlies 25,440 Chemical Engineers $30.31
Adjustment Clerks 4.6% Receptionists, Information Clerks 24,360 Physician Assistants $29.63
Directors, Religious Activities Education 4.5% Secretaries, Except Legal & Medical 24,060 Pharmacists $29.40

News from the NYS Assembly
Legislative Commission on
Skills Development and Career Education
Sheldon Silver, Speaker - William Scarborough, Chairman

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