Workforce1 NYC Transportation Center: A New York City Sector Initiative

Posted by ReEmployment Works! - On June 12, 2009 (EST)

Editor’s note: This post is from Melinda M. Mulawka, Deputy Director of the New York City Workforce Investment Board. Throughout her tenure with the WIB, Melinda has been responsible for the development and implementation of high priority initiatives such as the NYC Labor Market Information Service and In addition, she has spearheaded efforts to recruit dynamic business members to the Board and enhance communication to the WIB’s many stakeholders, as well as served as the Acting Executive Director throughout 2009.


In 2008 New York City launched the Workforce1 NYC Transportation Center (“Center”), which is one of the first large-scale sector initiatives in NYC and the nation.  The Center applies a sector-based workforce model to a large career center and was initially funded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Center for Economic Opportunity. 


The goals of the Center are to:

?         Help make companies more competitive by becoming a recognized expert of the workforce needs of transportation companies and providing services to meet those needs. 

?         Connect low-income workers to good jobs with career advancement opportunities within the sector.

?         Catalyze systems change within transportation by working collaboratively with other parties to identify and address barriers that impact employers and low-wage workers. The program focuses on placing the majority of participants in jobs with good wages and benefits.


Using labor market data, the Center chose to focus specifically on four subsectors; Air Transportation, Truck Transportation, Passenger and Ground Transit, and Air Support Transportation.  Within these subsectors, the Center works closely with companies to assess their hiring and training needs and to develop customized solutions to meet those needs.  These services include extensive job preparation and training services, tailored to meet the specific needs of transportation companies for both jobseekers, and incumbent workers employed within the industry.  By doing so, the program creates a pipeline of highly qualified transportation workers that saves companies time and money, improves productivity, and makes businesses in the transportation sector more competitive. For example, many companies have expressed a need for supervisory training to both retain workers and provide advancement opportunities for line staff. The Center has created customized supervisory trainings for two employers with the expressed focus to address an industry need as the workforce is aging out and there is a need to bring and advance new workers within the sector.  The Center has also found that having a deeper engagement with employers has enabled the Center to maintain and exceed performance expectations despite challenging economic times.   By having their “fingers on the pulse” of employer demand, staff has been able to connect those who were recently dislocated from employers in the sector with other like opportunities.  Similarly, the Center also screens new entrants into the sector, assisting jobseekers seamlessly transition into a new field.


Accomplishments and Impact

As of April 2009, the Transportation Center has made at total of 869 placements and promotions.  A total of 664 individuals have been placed in jobs and 75% of those placements are in jobs that pay $10 an hour or more.  The average hourly wage is $13.47 and the median wage is $13.03.  In addition, a total of 205 individuals have received promotions and the 75% of those individuals have received a 10% increase in wages or more.  Two hundred and thirty nine individuals have enrolled in training (primarily for Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) or supervisory training).  Additionally, over 80 transportation companies in NYC have been served by the Transportation Center.


Other key successes measured by the Center include the formation of a successful business advisory council (called the Leadership Committee) made up of employers from the industry, training providers, industry associations, and economic development organizations that provide market intelligence and feedback on the strategic direction of the Center. 


Serving as a Model

Historically, due to the intense focus and level of expertise required to be successful, sector initiatives are most appropriate to smaller scale or boutique programs.  The Workforce1 NYC Transportation Center is one of the first sector initiatives in the nation that has been brought to scale.


Why we are successful:

?         NYC has recognized that by understanding the industry dynamics, the specific competitive environment, and workforce needs of employers within the sector the Transportation Center will create lasting changes in the labor market system that are positive for workers and employers. 

?         The design of the model was created with input from national sector leaders including Aspen Institute and the most effective programs in the country helped to provide input and learn from their implementation lessons.  This large scale initiative has been achieved by capitalizing on the close business connections and feedback loop from employers, as well as specialized high-quality hiring and training. 

?         The Leadership Committee that advises the Center, is an integral resource in this process and brings together several stakeholders in the industry to illicit feedback about the Transportation Center activities. 


Other Sector Initiative Resources:

What is a sector initiative? The New York City Example: Workforce1 NYC Transportation Center


National Network of Sector Partners

What Is a Sector Initiative?

Sector Essentials: Using Research to Guide Planning

Sector Essentials: Funding


Public Private Ventures

Sectoral Research



Multiple examples of successful programming


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Modified On : August 06, 2009
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