Legislative Commission on Skills Development
Career Education

January 2007

Assemblywoman Joan K. Christensen, Chair

NYS Seal

New York State Assembly
Workforce Development News

Request for Applications: New York State Displaced Healthcare Workers Program

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) on Nov. 29, 2006 announced a Request for Applications (RFA) to solicit applications from eligible organizations (e.g., non-profit entities, healthcare facility trade associations, area health education centers, healthcare worker unions, and labor management committees ) to provide job counseling, placement and short-term training for healthcare workers affected by consolidations, closures, conversions and restructuring of healthcare resulting from the recommendations of the Commission on Health Care Facilities in the 21st Century. The RFA is part of the Displaced Healthcare Workers Program.

DOH will select one organization per region (Western Region, Central Region, Northern Region, Hudson Valley Region, New York City Region, & Long Island Region) to coordinate the placement of healthcare workers displaced by consolidation in the industry. These entities will be responsible for managing the placement of displaced workers into other jobs, subcontracting, as necessary with other training organizations, and providing workers with a full range of future employment options.

The primary objective of the RFA is to select regional coordinating organizations to manage the job counseling, placement and short-term training for affected workers, beyond what the current system can quickly and efficiently provide. There will be up to $15 million available for eligible organizations to assist displaced healthcare workers to secure the job counseling, placement and training they need to be re-absorbed into the healthcare system and if possible into comparable jobs outside of health if necessary. The program will expand upon the job counseling, placement and training services currently operated by the Department of Labor (DOL).

Applications are due no later than 5:00 pm on February 15, 2007.

For Additional Information About the Displaced Healthcare Workers Program Contact:
Barry Gray
NYS Department of Health
Corning Tower Building, Room 1084
Albany, NY 12237-0053
(518) 473 - 4700

Or Click here

Assemblywoman Christensen Hosts a Roundtable on Micro-Businesses at South Side Innovation Center

On November 20, Assemblywoman Joan Christensen, Chair of the Legislative Commission on Skills Development & Career Education, together with Assembly member Joan Millman, Chair of the Commission on Government Administration, Assembly member William Magee, Chair of the Agriculture Committee, and Assembly member David Koon, Chair of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources hosted a roundtable on upstate micro-businesses. The roundtable was co-sponsored by Assembly member Mark Weprin, Chair of the Small Business Committee, Assembly member Barbara Lifton, Chair of the Task Force on Women's Issues, and Assembly member Jose Rivera, Chair of the Task Force on Food, Farm, and Nutrition.

Micro-businesses, generally defined as business enterprises with five or fewer employees, are a critical component of economic development. Micro-businesses generate jobs, often in communities with high unemployment, and provide a route to economic self-sufficiency for diverse populations. Extensive studies have demonstrated that micro-enterprises can play pivotal a role in the revitalization of local economies. In today's economic environment, there is a segment of the population for whom self-employment is necessary, and in some cases, the best source of employment and income. By assisting individuals to build businesses and assets, micro-enterprises can open wealth and ownership opportunities to individuals who have been excluded from our economy.

The Assembly roundtable brought together experts from micro-business development organizations, micro-loan programs, community development funding institutions, libraries and business owners to discuss strategies for improving the State's outreach to micro-businesses.

Key points raised by roundtable participants were:

  • The welfare of the State is enhanced by a healthy entrepreneurial business environment. The State should therefore increase funding for micro-business/entrepreneurship programs which provide vital services to entrepreneurs seeking to start or expand a business.

  • EAP Centers provide instruction, training, technical assistance and support services to individuals who have recently started their own business or are interested in starting a business. EAP centers are located throughout the State, but are not available in many areas.

    • Though there is a clear need for entrepreneurial services in the Syracuse region, there is no Entrepreneurial Assistance Program Center (EAP). The closest EAP center is in Utica.

  • The current State system governing micro-businesses regulations and programs services are fragmented and confusing. To simplify the process the following recommendations were suggested:

    • Establish a One-Stop Information Center that is easily accessible (via internet) to micro-businesses and entrepreneurs seeking to start their own business.

    • Reduce and simplify overly burdensome regulatory policies and develop plain language descriptions of State regulations.

    • Develop better bench marks to measure success of micro-business programs.

    • Establish more effective linkages between employment and training One-Stop Centers (located throughout the State) and micro-business development programs.

  • While for some individuals a micro-business plays a key role in providing household income, for others it an important complement to wage employment.

US Department of Labor Awarded $125 Million in Community-Based Job Training Grants

This past December, the U. S. Department of Labor (US DOL) awarded a second round of job training grants to 72 community colleges that will support workforce development projects in 34 states. The primary purpose of Community-Based Job Training Grants is to build the capacity of community colleges to train workers in the skills required to succeed in high growth, high demand industries. Two New York institutions, CUNY Kingsborough Community College and Suffolk County Community College were awarded grants.

In general grant recipients will use the funds for the following activities:

  • Increasing the capacity of community colleges to provide training in a local high growth, high demand industry through activities such as the development of training curricula with local industry, hiring qualified faculty, arranging on-the-job experiences with industry, and using up-to-date equipment to train workers; and

  • Training new and experienced workers in identified high growth, high demand industries, with the aim of employing and/or increasing the retention and earnings of trained workers, while meeting the skill needs of businesses within targeted industries.

CUNY Kingsborough received an award of $1.6 million which will be utilized for training activities in the hospitality industry. Key partners of the project are: (1) New York City Department of Small Business Services; (2) Workforce1 Career Center (One-Stop); (3) CUNY on the Concourse (One-Stop); (4) New Hotel Association; (5) Cruise Lines International Association; (6) The City University of New York; and (7) the Kingsborough Department of Collaborative Programs.

CUNY Kingsborough Community College will provide capacity building and training activities which include:

  • The creation of the Employer Advisory Group to set recruitment targets before each training cycle as well as review curriculum, and expand the employers/stakeholder network.

  • Building management structure by hiring key staff to manage: (1) strategic partner linkages to maximize the sharing of resources; (2) development of curriculum; (3) training software and promotional materials; (4) internships and job placement; (5) coordination of student services and data management; and, (6) program evaluation.

  • Development of a targeted training program that combines job-specific content with development of soft skills and customer service skills.

  • Development of the VE Cyber Training Hotel - a virtual hotel based on real market data.

Projected outcomes for the project are as follows:

  • 520 persons to be trained using VE Cyber Training Hotels.

  • 80% of jobseekers will complete a 10-week program.

  • 75% of jobseekers will be placed in employment at the end of training.

  • 75% of those employed will retain their employment.

Suffolk County Community College received a grant of $2.4 million. The funds will be used to support integrated training projects in shortage areas such as: (1) automation and control systems; (2) mechanics; and (3) electronics and computer programming. Additionally, funds will be used to support:

  • Incorporation of manufacturing training models that focus on basic skills such as math and writing;

  • Development of five training modules and an industry internship system for incumbent workers;

  • The establishment of a career ladder progression for all manufacturing workers in the form of six-month and one-year certificates, and ultimately the re-establishment of a 2 year A.A.S. degree in advanced manufacturing processes.

Key partners include: (1) Suffolk County Department of Labor; (2) Oyster Bay Consortium Workforce Investment Board (WIB); (3) Town of Hempstead WIB; (4) Workforce NY Employment Centers (One-Stops); (5) The Long Island Works Coalition; (6) Nassau and Queensborough Community Colleges and Stony Brook and Farmingdale State Universities; (7) ADDAPT; (8) LIFT; and (9) Festo Corporation; (10) AFCO Systems Inc.

Projected outcomes for the project are as follows:

  • 300 incumbent manufacturing workers will be trained with at least 80% receiving industry certification.

  • 100 dislocated workers, high school and non-traditional colleges students will be trained with at least 75% receiving industry-validated certification.

  • At least 80% of firms will express satisfaction in worker skills resulting from training.

To Get More Information on Community-Based Job Training Grants, Please Click here

President Signs Tax Bill into Law That Includes Provision to Extend the Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Congress recently adopted the "Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006" (H.R. 6111) which renews a number of tax cuts and tax credit programs. The legislation was signed into law on December 7, 2006. The bill contains provisions (section 105) to extend the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).

WOTC provides an incentive for employers to hire, train, and retain job seekers. The credit can reduce an employer's federal income tax liability by as much as $2,400 per qualified new worker. Additionally, H.R. 6111 does the following:

  • Extends the WOTC Program until Jan. 1, 2008. The program had expired on Dec. 31, 2005;

  • Extends the WOTC to retroactively cover wages paid for individuals who began work after Dec. 31, 2005;

  • Eliminates the WOTC's family income requirement for individuals seeking to re-integrate back into society, but are having difficulty due to their past criminal record:

    • Under current law, eligibility for WOTC is limited to individuals with felony records who have an annual family income of 70% or less than the Bureau of Labor Statistics lower living standard.

    • Under H.R. 6111, this requirement will be removed.

  • Raises the WOTC age eligibility ceiling;

    • Currently, the WOTC Program restricts people from certain types of households from participating in the WOTC program based on age requirements.

    • This legislation would raise the age eligibility ceiling from 24 to 39 years of age for members of food stamp households.

To View Text of Legislation, Please Click here

U.S. Department of Labor's Employment & Training Administration Office Provides Grant to New York State to Aid in Recovery from Storm

On December 21, 2006 the U.S. Labor Department's office of Employment & Training Administration office (ETA) announced a $1.3 million grant for the State to create approximately 150 temporary jobs to assist with clean-up and recovery efforts following damage caused by severe storm and flooding that occurred during the month of October 2006. On Oct. 24, 2006 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared the counties of Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Orleans as eligible for its public assistance program.

Funds will be used to support temporary jobs which will be targeted for workers dislocated as a result of the snowstorms and flooding. The funds can also be used to hire other dislocated workers and the long-term unemployed. Jobs will include clearing debris from public and non-profit owned property, and funds may be used to perform work on the homes of economically disadvantaged individuals who qualify for the federally funded weatherization program.

In addition to the creation of temporary jobs, the grant may also be used for workforce development services for participants who need assistance to return to employment. The grant was awarded to the New York Department of Labor.

For More Information on This and Other U.S. Labor Department Employment & Training Programs, Please Click here

Education News

The New York Board of Regents has Established New Policies to Protect Students at New For-Profit Proprietary Colleges

Past investigations examining the practices of for-profit institutions (traditionally referred to as proprietary colleges) uncovered that some institutions were primarily focused on making a profit rather than providing quality educational programs (e.g., poor academic practices and in some cases fraud in admissions policies in order to increase enrollment and thereby increase profit). In an effort to address this problem, the Board of Regents adopted new rules (December 2006) that will protect students who enroll in for-profit proprietary colleges in New York State.

Under the newly adopted rules, new for-profit proprietary colleges will not be given permanent authority to grant degrees until the Regents and the State Education Department (SED) are certain that a proprietary college is meeting it's educational mission as well as providing quality educational services to it's students. SED has established a provisional period of up to five years during which the Department will closely monitor all new proprietary colleges. If the Regents determine that a proprietary college has not met the standards for operating a college in New York, the college will not be granted permanent authority to operate.

In the past, for-profit proprietary colleges were granted permanent authority without a probationary review period. That meant that if the Regents determined that a college was not meeting the standards, they had to initiate a lengthy process to revoke that school's degree-granting authority.

For Additional Information About the Newly Adopted Rules
Jonathan Burman or Tom Dunn at (518) 474-1201
Click here

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