Overview: 2015 “Opportunity Agenda”


As we shared yesterday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his fifth State of the State in combination with his New York State budget address. After reviewing the Executive budget and accompanying speech, we’ve detailed the workforce implications as laid out in the Governor’s vision, “The Opportunity Agenda” and proposed budget.

As we cautioned yesterday – the Legislature still needs to weigh in, so new ideas will remain just ideas until the budget and appropriations processes takes place. This also means YOU have an opportunity to influence the process by meeting and sharing your concerns about the lack of funding for workforce with your local elected officials. The ball is now in the Legislature’s court, and with the recent turmoil to the “three men in the room”, more may be up for grab than in the past.

What are the major takeaways?

This year’s “Opportunity Agenda” continues some of the Governor’s legacy goals: investment into the Regional Economic Development Councils ($2.9 billion to-date), raising the state minimum wage, as well as criminal justice and education reforms. Additionally, the Governor has presented additional strategies to continue to grow the job-base, and repair much of New York’s infrastructure; including using some of the budget surplus to do so. The Governor also continues to lower the cost of doing business, through tax cuts and credits; as well as continuing to focus on property tax relief and local government efficiency.

The “workforce” good news: Upstate will continue to see investment, specifically in some of the areas struggling the most and the Governor did discuss the need for a skilled workforce. Additionally community colleges continue to receive attention as an economic driver. The Governor also paid attention to some of the most basic needs New Yorkers have: food and shelter, which we know some our hardest to serve jobseekers struggle with.

Not so good news: Workforce investments are baked into the competitive processes (REDCs /Upstate competition) or are tax credits; the Governor continues to only focus on parts of the pipeline of workforce supports, not the full system.

Also, after reviewing the budget – it is basically flat – in Labor, OTDA, OCFS, and NYSED; there was a small increase for summer youth employment; but similar to last year programs like displaced homemaker and career pathways will need to advocate to the Legislature to be put them back in the budget.

NYATEP Members, check out your inboxes, we've also sent around a more detailed recap for your review.

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