Dear Commons Community,
Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his first state of the city address yesterday at LaGuardia Community College. He commented on many of his campaign issues including a “tale of two cities”, universal pre-K, immigration, and economic development. Mr. de Blasio indicated that he will move as quickly as he can and not wait for lawmakers in Washington, D.C. or Albany.
He also specifically mentioned City University of New York as having a vital role to play in accomplishing his goals. Here is an excerpt from his address:
“We’ll offer a fair shot to the workforce of tomorrow…changing a mindset that focuses on tax breaks for big corporations rather than making it easier for our people to earn the skills they need to land jobs at those companies.
We know the soaring cost of CUNY makes higher education harder and harder for everyday New Yorkers to afford.
And we understand that higher education is the path to a better life…the great equalizer…the key to lifting oneself into the middle class.
To that end, we will focus on the training and skills that individuals need to meet the demands generated by large and small employers of our city.
And we’ll not only fight to shift resources from corporate subsidies to tuition assistance, we’ll work to connect higher education to the jobs that the 21st Century workforce requires.
CUNY has always been the engine that drove New York’s economy, making sure that our great industries had the workforce they needed to thrive.
Today, new industries are driving an economic future with jobs we could not have envisioned just a few years ago.
And CUNY is going to help us fill those jobs with New Yorkers who are educated and ready to work.
We will forgo big giveaways to a select few companies and instead pursue a city economic strategy that grows whole sectors of small businesses in emerging industries – from technology, to green jobs, to food exports, to advanced manufacturing – companies that can generate good jobs at decent wages in all five boroughs.
We will create an Entrepreneurship Fund for low-income New Yorkers and a Fashion Manufacturing Fund — which will leverage private capital to ensure small business growth and fashion manufacturing across all five boroughs.
As we celebrate Fashion Week, we plan to grow this industry to the benefit of New Yorkers from all walks of life.
And we’ll create jobs for young people who are growing up in this city… who have always called this home.
First, we will advance a dedicated Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math program at CUNY…to start preparing more graduates of our public high schools for jobs in the city’s tech industry.
To that end, our aim is that within eight years, the majority of skilled technology-related jobs in New York City are being filled by those educated in New York City schools. We will look to the innovation economy not just to grow companies, but also to put New Yorkers to work.
Second, as our health sector continues to rapidly grow, we will prepare more of our unemployed, and our young people, for middle-skill, middle-class jobs: by scaling-up innovative programs like the Bronx’s Health Education and Research Occupations High School that connects New Yorkers to CUNY and to relevant work experience at Montefiore Hospital.
Third, for people without a college degree, we will reinvent our maze of overlapping and often-ineffective job training programs — and invest in industry-linked apprenticeship programs that directly connect New Yorkers to jobs in emerging industries such as green building innovation, information technology, and telecommunications.
Fourth, we will connect city high schools to colleges, apprenticeship programs, or industries that correspond to the skills our students must learn. We will reverse the trend of importing engineers, nurses, and other skilled workers to fill New York City jobs — and start in-sourcing good jobs for those who live here now, and are desperate for work.”
I am sure that CUNY is more than willing to do what it can for the Mayor!