NYC’s New 10-Year Jobs Plan Embraces Tech’s Potential

Julie Samuels, Executive Director

It’s no secret technology has had a significant impact on New York City’s economic well-being, with more than 300,000 technology workers now in the city. So we’re happy to see the Mayor and his administration propose new ideas for further growing the tech community—and the good jobs it creates—in NYC.

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a new 10-year jobs plan called New York Works. The plan outlines a series of 25 initiatives that will combine to create 100,000 new jobs that pay at least $50,000 a year. Specifically, it proposes to create 30,000 cybersecurity jobs, 25,000 construction jobs, 20,000 manufacturing jobs, 15,000 healthcare and life sciences jobs, and 10,000 cultural and creative positions.

Tech:NYC is happy to see that the full New York Works report emphasizes the role our growing technology companies will play in the years to come, both in the jobs it creates and how people will work. (As to that last point, this is why it’s so important that we have a system that grants all workers access to benefits—for more on this, read our Policy Brief on portable benefits.)  

The report also highlights an important trend—that more and more of NYC’s traditional industries (media, fashion, design, etc.) are being driven by technological changes and they are increasingly interdependent with technology. We like the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) plan to “launch a Podcast Producers initiative that provides the training and resources podcast productions need to get off the ground.” MOME also has a new Animation Project, where it will provide “1,800 at-risk youth with the technical training and workplace skills necessary to pursue careers in animation.”

This plan is not perfect and it alone won’t create all the good, middle-class jobs we need—employers will need to make that happen. Additionally, the plan is light on new details and ideas that show how this transformation will actually occur, with too many items repackaged from former initiatives. It’s also baffling that the report mentions the importance of continued investment in public transportation, but it doesn’t mention the promising Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) project. Still, New York Works is a big step in the right direction that shows NYC is well-positioned for the tech-focused future.

Here are some of the most exciting of New York Work’s 25 initiatives:

  1. Cybersecurity: First and foremost, New York Works aims to “establish NYC as the next global hub for cybersecurity through a $30 million investment in training New Yorkers, academic R&D labs, and the first business accelerator dedicated solely to early-stage cybersecurity firms in New York City.”

  2. Computer Science Students: The plan aims to double the number of CUNY’s Computer Science graduates to 2,000 per year within five years by investing in faculty, real world experiences for students through internships and work/study programs, and improved career advising.

  3. Apprentice NYC: This plan aims to create “Apprentice NYC,” a new employer-partnership model that will provide 500 New Yorkers with jobs in tech, healthcare/life sciences, and manufacturing.

  4. Digital Health Lab: If created, New York’s first Digital Health Lab would be “a $5-million product testing ground for healthcare and tech companies ready to bring their products into a clinical setting that models real-world patient interactions, record-keeping terminals and consultations.” The plan says more than 850 jobs will be generated by new and existing companies using the facility.

  5. Augmented and Virtual Reality Lab: This would be the first in the nation lab focused on new AR and VR technologies. At the cost of $6 million, NYC would be potentially be positioned as the center of the growing AR and VR research and business.

We applaud the Mayor, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, and James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, for releasing this plan and showing that this administration believes tech has an even bigger role to play in growing New York’s economic fortunes.

At a time when thoughtful policy planning is all too rare in Washington, we’re excited to see New York taking the lead to build a better future for all New Yorkers.