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A Solution Series Panel Discussion of the Intersection of Workforce and Economic Development

Thursday, March 27. 8am at Mutual of America, 320 Park Avenue

NEW YORK, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At 8am, Thursday, March 27, 2014, Fedcap's Solution Series is convening a panel discussion to explore the intersection of workforce and economic development at Mutual of America, 320 Park Avenue.

Panelists include: Mark Elliott, President, Economic Mobility Corporation Jacqueline Mallon, Deputy Commissioner, Workforce Development New York City, Small Business Services David Jason Fisher, Senior Fellow, Workforce Development, Center for an Urban Future Melanie Kirk, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, FreshDirect

Increasing local employment is one of the goals of economic development efforts.  Although economic and workforce development are the primary engines of community improvement and growth, they are frequently not aligned. The amalgam of each panelist's experience and point of view will clarify the puzzling and seemingly impossible disconnect.

"In a time of tight budgets and reduced government funding, workforce and economic development have to find innovative ways to collaborate." said Christine McMahon, President and CEO of Fedcap. Ms. McMahon continued, "For employers, a pipeline of trained, job ready workers that match current and future needs is a strategic advantage that lowers training costs, reduces turnover and generates productivity."

Workforce development policy is usually presented by supporters and funders as a way to solve "social problems" that will incur considerable public expenditure if individuals with barriers and long histories of unemployment are unable to find sustainable jobs.

Economic developers, on the other hand, are attracting or retaining particular businesses or positioning cities, regions or states as attractive destinations for entire business sectors.  Incentives such as financial incentives or tax exemptions are common.  From their perspective, the fewer the requirements, including job training or hiring mandates, the more likely they will succeed. 

Since 2008, NYC has gained 237,000 jobs. Low wage jobs have increased dramatically.  Five years ago 31% of New Yorkers earned less than $28,000 a year. During the same five years of significant economic development, the number has risen to 35%.

Last month, in his preliminary budget address, Mayor DeBlasio promised to increase the number of middle class jobs through job training, education, and affordable housing.

The Mayor's approach is sector based development – the targeted development of workers for specific jobs and industries through education. It is fast becoming the main point of intersection between workforce and economic development. 

In spite of what may seem impossible, the panel will discuss concrete examples where integration has created an economic "win-win" for both employers and employees.  Some are looking to the new administration's promise to address "income inequality" as a platform to create a new dialogue to promote an intersection that will benefit all.

The Solution Series, a project of Fedcap's Community Impact Institute, convenes high level dialogues that focus sharply on the barriers to economic independence and self-sufficiency. 

Fedcap, creates opportunities for people with barriers to move toward economic independence as valued and contributing members of society.

Contact: Mary Daly, 917-710-7623


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