2002 Legislative Report
from the
Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education

Sheldon Silver, Speaker  square  William Scarborough, Chair  square  Summer 2002

Address questions or comments to:

William Scarborough
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The Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education
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Empire State Plaza
Agency 4, 12th Floor
Albany, NY 12248
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Assembly Seal
Assemblyman Scarborough

From the Desk of
William Scarborough, Chair

Dear Friends:

The Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education is working diligently to see that both upstate and downstate businesses in New York State continue to have a well-trained and skilled workforce that has access to the training and educational supports needed in the global economy.

This newsletter highlights some important issues and policies we have been investigating during the past Legislative session.

Please feel free to comment on these issues and help me stay informed of your concerns and ideas as we forge a diverse and well-trained workforce for the 21st century.

William Scarborough

Commission Hosts Youth "Speak Out!" At Annual Black Caucus Weekend Event: February 2002

Dr. Joseph E. Bowman, member of the New York State Board of Regents, addresses the "Youth and Workforce Issues" workshop with a presentation about career opportunities available in the field of technology

On the third weekend in February every year, the Empire State Plaza Concourse resonates with rhythms, vibrations and the richness of African-American and Latino culture at the annual Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus in Albany. This year’s Caucus on February 16, 17 & 18 continued the tradition of a weekend of information, cultural events and forums presented by our State Legislators and Elected Officials.

One of the highlights of the Caucus was a lively workshop on "Youth and Workforce Issues" led by Assemblymember William Scarborough, the Queens Legislator and Chair of the Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education. Panelists’ presentations provoked exciting discussion followed by a "Speak Out!" session with over 150 youth and adults who work in career education programs.

Dr. Joseph E. Bowman, Jr., a leading educator and distinguished Regent of the New York State Board of Regents, gave a dynamic presentation on technology and the career opportunities available in that field. Youth were challenged and encouraged to train and study the hard sciences and upper level mathematics courses in preparation for higher education courses and/or training programs. The landscape of the workplace is changing and learning math and science can only enhance career prospects. Dr. Bowman introduced two young graduates of SUNY – Albany who have successfully completed a program in computer science and technology that has opened up a world of possibilities for them. They encouraged the youth to pursue their studies with diligence and concentrated effort.

Commission Chair William Scarborough leads a discussion during the workshop on "Youth and Workforce Issues" during this year’s Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus

Along with Alan Weeks, director of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Theatre Outreach Program (STOP), were two young people from the Capital District area, Kofi Cooper and Tanisha McIntosh. Both gave impressive accounts of how training in the arts helped them become articulate leaders and concerned community advocates. Both students reinforced the premise that studying theatre builds confidence, enhances concern for the community and builds multi-talented and multi-skilled members of the workforce. Tanisha really connected with the students when she shared how she gained the confidence to pursue upper level mathematics and science and now is pursuing a medical career in college. Mr. Week’s program is a valuable training asset to the youth of the Capital District area and has been helping young people develop a variety of skills for over ten years. Arts training helps not only those interested in careers in the theatre, but also opens other avenues for career development.

Ms. Jestine Brown, a constituent of Assemblymember Scarborough and founder and director of the Queens Community Cadet Corps, spoke about the importance of youth working together in creative, supportive networks. Ms. Brown’s program at York College has hosted college tours for youth for over 15 years. The program brings young people to the colleges where college officials help them plan school study programs that will make them eligible for entrance into the colleges they choose.

photo young attendees at the Youth "Speak Out!" forum

John Twomey, Executive Director of the N.Y.S. Association for Training and Employment Professions, highlighted the important programs available in workforce development in New York City where many of the audience had come from. Mr. Twomey indicated how the workplace is now a "knowledge-based economy" where unskilled jobs are no longer part of the scheme. Young people have to be skilled and have to be able to transfer skills learned in order to fit into the changing workplace milieu.

Andrea Smyth, an advocate for NYC Summer Jobs, spoke of the importance of summer jobs for youth. Training begins when youth use their summer hours creatively and for the benefit of their community. She encouraged the young people to support the Youth Summer Jobs program. One program she highlighted was a bicycle repair training program sponsored by the Henry Street Settlement Houses. In the program, youth are trained to repair recycled bicycles. Once repaired the youth pass the bicycles to younger children whom they instructed about bicycle safety and bicycle care. Summer jobs such as this one not only train youth in concrete skills, but also enhance their community awareness and caring for others.

photo Jestine Brown, founder and director of the Queens Community Cadet Corps, speaks about the importance of youth working together.

The question and answer session that followed was peppered with interesting and clever questioning from the young participants. Some asked what avenues were available to them when confronted with discrimination as they are pursuing employment. The Assemblymember gave his office in Albany and in the District as resources they could use along with the State and City agencies available to hear civil rights claims. One adult sparked lively discussion when stressing the importance of appearance and demeanor when young people go for job interviews. She stressed the importance of dressing correctly and speaking correctly for interviews. The use of slang versus conversational English was part of the lively debate between the young and the old during that part of the forum.

The forum was followed by a luncheon reception hosted by Assemblymember Scarborough in his suite at the Legislative Office Building. The young people and their chaperones ended the day with a fascinating and moving tour at the State Museum exhibition of “A Slave Ship Speaks – The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie.” Career opportunities again were interjected through the museum tour to further widen the young people’s awareness of specialties and the necessary prerequisite skills for interesting careers.

Commission Holds Hearing on Implementation of 1998 Federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

On March 1, 2002 the Commission joined forces to conduct a hearing in New York City. The purpose was to evaluate the progress of the City’s implementation of the new federal job training legislation enacted in 1998 and its impact upon New York City’s workforce development programs.

The hearing, held at the Queens Borough Hall, provided a forum for a variety of opinions and positions heard and was cosponsored by the Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education, the Assembly Standing Committee on Social Services, the Assembly Standing Committee on Children and Families and the Assembly Standing Committee on Labor.

With the tragedy of September 11th, New York City’s need for training and skills development of its workforce is greater than ever. The loss of businesses and the need for jobs are at a critical stage in the New York City area partly because of the tragedy but also because of the recession. The new federal legislation was enacted to provide expanded funding and programmatic resources to the unemployed, employed, displaced workers and youth in-school and out-of-school in search of skills development and training.

The Assemblymembers heard representatives from the City’s government agencies, Department of Employment (DOE), The City Department of Human Resources and State’s Department of Labor. Advocacy groups spoke on issues relating to youth, the disabled, and the unemployed as well as the need for summer jobs for youth programs.

The Summer Jobs program no longer funded with federal employment and training dollars was a major concern at the hearing. Advocates from many summer jobs programs explained in great detail the impact of not replacing the federal dollars for this popular program with TANF and or State funds. Assemblymember Scarborough asked Commissioner Wu, NYC Department of Employment, to comment about the impact of WIA on DOE’s capability to provide summer jobs for youth. Jean Seltzer, Assistant Commissioner for Youth Programs, informed the Members that the DOE served approximately 50,000 youth in the last year of the Job Training Partnership Act (JPTA). During the transition year to WIA, July 2000-June 2001, DOE served 39,610 youth with WIA, State and City funds. A preliminary budget proposal called for funding for the Summer Jobs Program to be cut from $35 million to $15 million. "This year", Seltzer said, "with the proposed $15 million state funding, a $20 million reduction from the previous year, we will only be able to serve roughly 22,000 to 25,000 youth." The City will have less tax levy money to fill the funding void because of the residual effects of the September 11th event. Seltzer continued to say, "a more reliable funding stream for summer jobs is very much needed." Assemblymember Scarborough agreed and informed the witness that he was sponsor of a stand-alone, permanent State-funded summer jobs bill. The Commission is happy to report Mr. Scarborough and his colleagues were successful in restoring funding of $25 million in this year’s budget.

Workforce Investment Act
Public Hearing

Coming Soon
To the Syracuse Area...

Your legislators want to hear how the federal legislation impacts workforce development in the Syracuse and Upstate areas

Sponsored by:
The Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education,
Committee on Children and Families
Committee on Social Services and
Committee on Labor

Watch For The Date!!!!

2001 Catalog Lists Workforce Programs Throughout the State

As part of the Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education’s mandate, we have once again tracked the funding and programmatic results of State and federal legislation that establishes workforce preparation programs within New York State. These programs build a strong basis for an educated and skilled workforce.

The 2001 Catalog of Workforce Preparation Programs was released in July 2002. It contains information about 73 workforce preparation programs that provide education, training activities and services to employed and unemployed youth and adults throughout the State.

The programs are administered by a variety of State agencies, community organizations, schools and colleges to help create a dynamic, trained and skilled workforce. To view the catalog, click here