Finding Opportunities in a Worker "Shortage"


Brooklyn Workforce Innovations trains unemployed New Yorkers to take the Commercial Driver’s License test


“Trucking Industry Struggles With Growing Driver Shortage,” National Public Radio reported earlier this month. But it was not news to the Consortium for Worker Education or its partners. Through its City Council-funded programs, Jobs to Build On and Worker Service Centers, as well as union education programs, CWE has been working for years to identify in-demand and high-paying employment opportunities and to train New Yorkers to get those jobs.
“It’s not just good for workers, it’s good for employers and the overall economy to have trained workers applying for these needed jobs,” says Glenda Williams, Deputy Executive Director of Workforce Partnerships at the Consortium for Worker Education. “We seek out and prioritize these industries because we want workers to have lasting careers that they can continue to grow in.”
As the shortage of commercial drivers has grown in past years, Jobs to Build On partner Brooklyn Workforce Innovations has trained unemployed New Yorkers to take the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) test. The four week program, Red Hook on the Road, opens up careers in unionized industries like school buses and trucking.
In partnership with Teamsters Joint Council 16, CWE has provided CDL training free-of-cost to the union’s members for decades, giving members access to promotions and new opportunities. The union then works with employers to place the newly-trained workers in their growing companies. Likewise, when the Machinists Union informed CWE that its diesel mechanic members at several commercial fleet operators were nearing retirement, CWE partnered with the union, employers, and Bronx Community College to create a new apprenticeship program for the trade.
New York City’s construction boom continues and CWE partners in the building trades and in community organizations are working to ensure that new jobs go to local residents who need them. The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills is the pre-apprenticeship program of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and opens doors in building trades unions to public high school students and Sandy-impacted New Yorkers. Nontraditional Employment for Women, another Jobs to Build On program, trains women for building trades jobs, and works with union partners to place them into apprenticeships.
Many CWE partners are preparing their community members for career opportunities in the growing health care industry as well. Cooperative Home Care Associates is a Bronx-based cooperative that trains New Yorkers for jobs as home health aides, and gives them an ownership stake in the business so they benefit as the cooperative grows. It is known as “America's largest worker owned co-op” and all its health aides are members of 1199 SEIU. Likewise, Make the Road New York receives funding from CWE’s Worker Service Centers program to train local residents to become community health workers. Graduates are placed into good jobs and are on the front lines of improving the health of their own communities.
As our economy changes and new jobs become in-demand, CWE will be there for workers, helping them get the training they need for a rewarding and fulfilling career.