The New York Foundation looks to connect its grantees and other nonprofit organizations in New York City with resources useful in achieving our common goals. With our Knowledge Center we collect reports, case studies, policy briefs, and other knowledge assets produced by New York Foundation grantees and affiliated organizations. While some of these works were funded by the Foundation, our goal in providing this collection is to put a spotlight on the contributions that Foundation grantees have made to social issue analysis and problem solving.
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The Climate and Community Investment Act: An Engine for Good Job Creation

May 14, 2021

For NY Renews, our hundreds of allied organizations, and tens of thousands of supporters statewide, the answer is clear: we rebuild our economy by jumpstarting the just transition to renewable energy and investing in our communities--especially disadvantaged communities hit first and worst by both Covid-19 and the climate crisis; we enact the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) in New York and pass the Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Act in Congress.Just as the CCIA will cut climate and air pollution, it will send ripples of investment throughout the economy. By supporting worker training, fueling small and large-scale infrastructure projects, electrifying our state's energy production, providing direct rebates to up to 60% of New Yorkers, and jump-starting community-driven climate solutions, the policy will invigorate many sectors of New York's economy.To be conservative in its estimates, this report analyzed two areas of the CCIA's spending that will create significant calculable new jobs in New York either because they replace expenditures out of state for fossil fuel or because they replace or expand employment in more labor and value intensive sectors of the economy: the CCIA's Climate Jobs and Infrastructure Fund and the Community Just Transition Fund.

Licensing A Legacy

December 8, 2020

Hair braiding is a profession largely by and for Black women.  It represents an integral part of many African cultures and is a part of cultural heritage for African women.  For many African immigrant women, hair braiding is also the most marketable skill and accessible employment to support their families here and back home. However, working as a hair braider is not as simple as one might think.  African immigrant hair braiders are a marginalized workforce facing numerous challenges, including regulatory and structural barriers to practicing their craft.  Most have not been able to obtain the Natural Hair Styling license, which is required by the State to do their work. Our report sheds light on these issues and lays out recommendations to make the license more accessible.The report is the culmination of a Participatory Action Research project that centered on the leadership of African hair braiders.  ACT conducted nearly 350 surveys, three focus groups, and interviews with braiders.  Our research found that surveyed hair braiders want licenses and feel the pressure and fear of being unlicensed: they are concerned about the fact that they are unlicensed, which leaves them vulnerable to theft of services and penalties from authorities for license violations. Our data also show that the State licensing process imposes significant barriers on braiders who want to obtain a Natural Hair Styling license. Most braiders lack information about the requirements to apply for the license. Barriers like language access, literacy, and the time and cost of training programs put the license out of reach for most braiders. The report details policy recommendations to improve African hair braiders' access to licensure, including improving access to information about the license, revising the course and examination requirements, streamlining the process by which braiders can document prior experience, and more.

The Racial Jobs Gap: Who Benefits from New York’s Economic Growth

December 19, 2018

Good paying jobs are growing in every borough of the city, but many New Yorkers, especially low wealth New Yorkers of color, remain disconnected from those jobs.While 57% of jobs in the City are good paying jobs, they are less likely to go to local residents of color. Communities of color are not only excluded from the City's economic boom, they are at greater risk of displacement as housing costs rise and access to good paying jobs remains limited.

Pathways to Success: The Need for Accessible, Appropriate Trainings for Retail Workers

November 2, 2017

There are over 16 million retail workers in the United States, with "retail salesperson" being the most common occupation in the nation. New York City, an international center of business and commerce, has almost 350,000 retail workers across large chains and smaller stores. A previous study by the Retail Action Project has shown marked occupational segregation and inequities across race and gender lines in the retail sector. The lowest paying jobs are occupied disproportionately by women and people of color, with White men in the higher paying and managerial roles. Career advancement is also inequitable: the same report found that Black and Latino workers were less likely than White workers to be offered a promotion.The Center for Frontline Retail (CFR) provides workers with the tools and knowledge necessary for industry advancement to higher paying retail positions with full-time schedules, while developing workers' labor consciousness and leadership skills through political and popular education. CFR's career development services broaden workers' knowledge of retail career pathways and advance workers toward economic self-sufficiency. CFR's trainings offer retail workers and job seekers a sector-specific curriculum with certifications that they can add to their resume and aid them in applying to new positions.Over the past two years, CFR identified training and career advancement as an unmet need for retail workers in New York City. CFR staff and members talked to hundreds of New York City retail workers through one-on-one conversations, trainings and events. These workers repeatedly reported that they needed but did not have access to quality training or other professional development opportunities. This prompted CFR to partner with the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center (CDP) on a participatory research project, collecting 292 surveys, holding three focus groups, and conducting a literature review in order to explore the training and advancement barriers and opportunities for workers.Our research shows that while career ladders exist in retail, workers have trouble climbing those ladders and are expected to take on additional responsibilities without a change in title, pay or additional training. Expanding access to quality training is a key mechanism to increase longevity, de-segregate the workforce, and build a career ladder for retail workers.

Restart Solar: How NYC Can Renew Its Solar Program To Benefit Workers & Community

September 22, 2016

New York City intends to install 100 MW of solar on the rooftops of public buildings by 2025. Over the next nine years, this upgrading of public infrastructure could provide significant benefits for New Yorkers, and not just in terms of reducing emissions. These solar installations, impacting over 300 public buildings, can create thousands of good, union jobs for New York residents, and significantly reduce the City's electricity bill, freeing up funds for new and innovative programs that generate wealth in our communities. Despite the clear opportunities for leveraging this solar program to the benefit of communities and workers, this report finds that New York City's public rooftop solar energy initiative can do more to address the needs of our City's low-income communities and workers.

Standing Up for Dignity - Women Day Laborers

August 1, 2016

Over the years day laborers have become one of the most vulnerable groups of workers within the growing non-standard workforce in the U.S. There is an added vulnerability that results from women day laborers being employed as domestic workers. Despite improvements in the law, policy gaps remain for providing wage and workplace safety protections for day laborers who work as domestic workers. A goal of this study of women day laborers is to address the gap in the existing research by examining the range of issues facing women day laborers who seek employment at this Brooklyn hiring site.

Taking the High Road: How the City of New York Can Create Thousands of Good Retail Jobs Through Neighborhood Rezoning

May 1, 2015

In 2014, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan to redevelop multiple neighborhoods across the five boroughs through an elaborate rezoning effort. Despite the plan's unprecedented scale and the impact it will undoubtedly have on our landscape, little if any attention has yet to be paid to the issue of jobs -- specifically, the quality of permanent retail jobs in stores and businesses that will occupy the ground floors of many new apartment buildings and developments throughout the rezoned areas. These areas include East New York, Brooklyn, Long Island City, Queens, the Jerome Avenue Corridor in The Bronx, Flushing West in Queens, East Harlem in Manhattan, and the Bay Street Corridor in Staten Island. Mayor de Blasio's plan to rezone neighborhoods offers enormous potential for building a better retail economy in our city. This is the first report of its kind to offer a policy roadmap for how the de Blasio administration and local communities can together ensure that the thousands of jobs created in rezoned neighborhoods are high-road retail jobs with living wages and full-time hours for city residents.

Empty Judgments: The Wage Collection Crisis in New York

February 25, 2015

Across all low-wage industries, employers regularly fail to pay workers the wages required by law. However, despite increased efforts to combat rampant wage theft, New York law fails to hold employers accountable. Even when workers take an employer to court and win, employers often avoid paying what they owe. In the months or years it takes to get a court judgment, employers transfer money from their bank accounts, put property in the names of family members, close down their business or change its name, create sham corporations, ignore court orders, or leave the country with their property. Unlike other states, New York law does not provide adequate protection against these tactics. As a result, many workers never get paid the wages they earned, even when they engage in a lengthy legal process. This report is a snapshot of this wage collection crisis in New York. We explain why New York law fails to stop evasive employers from paying their workers, and we share the stories of workers affected by this failure. From 17 legal service organizations and employment attorneys who represent low-wage workers, we identified 62 recent New York federal and state court wage theft judgments that employers have not paid. These 62 cases collectively represented a total of over $25 million owed to 284 workers. New York law was of no assistance: the employers in these cases successfully avoided paying the wages ordered by the courts.

The Eldercare Dialogues: A Grassroots Strategy to Transform Long-Term Care

December 11, 2014

This report is the culmination of observations of 11 Eldercare Dialogues, 15 in-depth interviews with Dialogue organizers and participants, and six focus groups, one with each participating organization. It explores the experiences of caregivers and care recipients in the movement to transform long-term care and ensure that caregivers and recipients have the support they need to age and work with dignity. The full report includes a toolkit so other communities can learn from and replicate the Dialogue process.

Food Insecurity of Restaurant Workers

July 24, 2014

This report is the first of its kind, presenting findings on the role that employment conditions have in affecting workers' food security in the restaurant industry -- the segment of the food system that employs the greatest number of workers. This report also provides recommendations for policymakers, employers, and consumers to improve the food security of restaurant workers. It is based on surveys of 286 restaurants workers in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area during 2011-2014.

Feeding New York: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers in New York City's Food Manufacturing Industry

June 1, 2014

With some $5 billion in gross annual sales, New York City's food manufacturing industry provides the livelihoods of 14,000 workers and their families. Approximately 900 firms do business across the five boroughs of New York City. Across New York State, the industry employs 43,142 workers. Food manufacturing provides an important source of employment for those with a range of educational backgrounds and familiarity with English -- according to a 2007 study by the Fiscal Policy Institute, 70% of workers in the sector are immigrants, 72% are people of color, and 64% have less than a high school diploma. Increasingly, the industry also provides opportunities for women, though they are often paid less and face obstacles to better jobs.

Low Wage Service Sector Workers in New York City

November 1, 2013

Making enough money to survive in New York City is challenging for many, especially for those struggling at the lowest end of the pay scale. Every day tens of thousands of low wage workers in New York City must ask themselves these difficult questions: Which utility should I pay this month: the telephone or the gas? Should I walk to work -- more than an hour -- to avoid the $5.00 round trip subway cost? How will I afford to feed my family?New York Communities Organizing Fund, Inc. (NYCOFI) and New York Communities for Change (NYCC) surveyed low wage workers in a variety of industries around New York City to get a real-world view of life in one of the most expensive cities in the country. This paper makes specific recommendations that are informed by employment statistics, an analysis of the supports that are available to workers, and our own research in the field.We hope this paper will be a starting place for those low wage workers organizing for better conditions. We also hope it will be a factual source for those policy makers working for better conditions for low wage workers. In a city with so much wealth, no one should be struggling day-to-day just to get by.

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