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Report: NYS Should Tailor and Increase Workforce Development Services for Latinos

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Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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The Latino workforce has grown

A new UAlbany study recommends tracking the impact of the workforce by ethnicity and tailoring workforce development services.

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 8, 2010) -- The Latino population of the New York State workforce grew by more than 50 percent since the early 1990s, yet state and private agencies charged with promoting workforce development spent less that 5 percent of their budgets on Latino workers and generally failed to track Latino progress in the workplace, a new University at Albany study has found.

In a census analysis by the UAlbany-based New York Latino Research and Resources Network (NYLARNet), research sociologists point out that New York State hosts the highest concentration of Latinos in the Northeast and more than one million Latinos in New York City alone. Between 1993 and 2005, New York State's workforce grew by 10 percent. Latinos constituted a significant proportion of the state's budding workforce, growing by 61 percent compared to 22 percent for blacks and 3 percent for non-Hispanic whites during the same period. For the year April 2008 to March 2009 -- coinciding with the current economic recession -- the Latino unemployment rate reached 7.4 percent compared to 5 percent for white, non-Hispanic workers.

In New York State, workforce development services are primarily provided via a delivery model established by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, consisting of a one-stop delivery system that allows qualified individuals to apply for training programs and services from a central location, managed by a local Workforce Investment Board (WIB). Other workforce delivery systems have been established by non-profit organizations, public benefit corporations, and state entities charged with the task of carrying out workforce development. The Workforce Development Institute (WDI) and the New York City Consortium for Worker Education (NYCCWE) devote significant attention to growing New York's workforce. Along with the WIBs, their combined budgets total more $175,000,000. Yet while these organizations promoted all workers including Latinos and conducted one or more programs focused on Latinos, those Latino-specific programs represented 0.01 percent to 1.3 percent of the total budget of entities whose financials were publicly accessible.

One-Stop Career Centers was the sole organization among the three major workforce development groups in the state that tracked and reported the race and ethnicity of their participants. WDI and NYCCWE did not track Latino demographic information, making it difficult to assess how their programs might be impacting New York's Latinos.

"For New York State to adequately address the disproportionately high rate of Latino unemployment it needs to track the impact of workforce development programs on the Latino population and tailor workforce development services specifically to meet the needs of Latinos," said Jackie Hayes, NYLARNet researcher and report co-author.

In addition to tracking the impact of the workforce by race and ethnicity and tailoring workforce development services specifically for Latinos, NYLARNet's report recommends increasing the total amount of workforce development dollars that target Latino workers.

About NYLARNet
NYLARNet brings together the combined expertise of U.S. Latino Studies scholars and other professionals across research institutions within New York State in health, education, immigration, and political participation. NYLARNet addresses a broad spectrum of concerns related to the four target areas, and provides information services to legislators, public agencies, community organizations, and the media on U.S. Latino affairs, paying special attention to the realities and needs of Latino populations throughout New York State and outside of New York City.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 58 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit www.albany.edu. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.

Distinguished Professor James Acker, Collins Fellow
UAlbany Faculty

Nearly 30 years ago, James Acker left a thriving law practice in North Carolina to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in academia at the University at Albany.

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