Kingsborough Community College. Photo: Google Maps.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has released a new workforce development plan that would make City University of New York community colleges free to all students.

The aim of the plan is to build a competitive and inclusive post-pandemic economy and better align training with the jobs that will be needed in the city going into the future.

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. Photo credit: A. Leonhardt for BK Reader

Stringer said the pandemic had upended the economy and displaced thousands of workers, and if the city didn’t revolutionize how it supported New Yorkers it risked deepening the inequality gap.

“The pandemic exposed inequities in our economy and worsened the longstanding gaps in our social safety net. While some sectors of our workforce have the tools, resources and career flexibility to work remotely, many New York City jobs and careers have been derailed and debilitated by the economic shutdown,” Stringer said.

“As we work to recover and rebuild, we must address these gaps and ensure that New York City’s workforce is strong and ready to take on the opportunities and challenges of the post-COVID, 21st century global economy.”

Stringer said his plan overhauled the city’s approach to job training, job placement and education to reflect the evolution of work, and it aimed to break down systemic barriers historically excluding women, people of color, immigrants and young people from higher-wage industries.

Stringer said the plan focused on expanding employment opportunities in healthcare, logistics, engineering, finance, design, early education, analytics, cyber-security, software development, and other occupations that withstood the economic shock of the pandemic.

Much of that would be done by centering on CUNY, which Stringer said was uniquely positioned to educate and upskill first-generation, working, part-time, low-income and adult learners, and “serve as an engine of economic mobility in the five boroughs.”

The plan includes:

  • Making tuition at CUNY community colleges free for all
  • Guaranteeing CUNY ASAP for all community college students
  • An investment in full-time, experienced staff for CUNY campuses
  • Building a paid internship program for all final year CUNY students
  • Expansion of Career and Technical Education
  • Development of a CUNY Tech Corps to help businesses go online
  • Aligning private industry and workforce training
  • Bringing out-of-school and out-of-work youth back into the education system
  • Expanding subsidized wage programs to New Yorkers in need
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