As Long Island recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, a skilled and well-trained workforce can drive a strong, resilient economy for growth. Meanwhile, the resurgent efforts for racial equality create renewed momentum to ensure everyone in our community has the same opportunity for economic success.
These two challenges provide an unprecedented opportunity for Long Island to implement a workforce training and development strategy to meet current and future market demand with an exceptional workforce, drive the region’s growth and global competitiveness, and help bridge the economic divide. Further, during the 2020 State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced expanding the state’s $175 million workforce development initiative as a statewide priority for economic growth.
On June 18, the Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC) and Suffolk Industrial Development Agency released the comprehensive study “Upskilled: Preparing the Long Island Workforce for the Future.” The report delves into economic and demographic research to set the stage for a high-impact regional workforce development to ensure the skills of the area’s workers match the talent needs of the region’s fastest-growing business sectors.
Key opportunities the report identified include:
- Focus on workforce development in “tradable sectors,” which export goods and services to other regions. Tradable sectors are critical for economic development by bringing new dollars into the region, providing better-paying jobs, and defining a place’s competitive advantages. Only 23% of Long Island’s workforce is employed in tradeable sectors today. The eight key tradeable sectors identified for growth on Long Island are aerospace, biopharma, business services, construction, distribution, financial services, food processing, and IT & instruments.
- With 77% of the current workforce employed in local services, there are significant retraining opportunities to build a sufficient pipeline for the high-growth industries in tradeable sectors.
- As Long Island’s population becomes more diverse, workforce development can offer a solution for equitable economic development, preparing all Long Islanders for career trajectories with good earnings potential, regardless of age and ethnic or educational backgrounds.
- This report envisions economic and workforce development as a unified strategy that thrives on multi-institution, cross-sector, and bi-county collaborations.
The report’s release was the next step toward the development and implementation of a workforce development plan for Long Island. The foundational principles set forth in the report will guide programmatic and policy decisions, opportunities of actionable next steps, and components that illustrate productive configurations of the regional workforce development system. Phase two of the report will include an implementation strategy, covering multiple recommendations such as location, size and scale, facility type, academic partners, funding, curriculum, and operating budget.
To download a copy of the full report here.
About Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency
The mission of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is to promote economic development in the county by helping businesses expand and grow, increase employment opportunities and add to the quality of life for the residents of Suffolk County. The Suffolk IDA is the lead agency attracting new investment in Suffolk County and driving the region’s innovation economy and job expansion. Carrying out the work of the Suffolk County IDA is a team of experienced, highly skilled economic development professionals. They focus on attracting new business, supporting the expansion of existing industry, and mobilizing local and regional assets supporting regional long-term growth and economic development.