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Good, stable jobs are essential to ensuring the livelihood of the City and its residents. Under Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s leadership, the City has seen an increase in average overall wages, job growth rates above the national average, and the lowest unemployment rate since before the recession.

The Council allocated $2.1 million to the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative (WCBDI), which funded a citywide effort to assist cooperative entrepreneurs with start-up capital, training, skills development, and outreach to unemployed, underemployed and discouraged workers in high-needs neighborhoods. Since its inception, the Initiative has worked with 141 worker-owners to establish 21 new cooperatives, trained 938 entrepreneurs, and provided technical assistance or business support to 24 existing worker cooperatives. The Council also passed legislation requiring City agencies to study how cooperative businesses contract with the City, and highlight opportunities to further integrate worker cooperatives into City contracting.

While many emerging industries in the City have seen consistent growth since the recession, the City’s manufacturing sector has struggled to develop its technical workforce and expand the market for its products. In the FY 2016 budget, we allocated $750,000 to expand the Made in NYC brand in coordination with the Pratt Institute to support manufacturers and industrial entrepreneurs in the City. Made in NYC provides local manufacturers a platform to showcase their products and increase public awareness of their sector.

The Neighborhood Development Grant Initiative (NDGI) was created by the Council to provide community-based organizations with funding for a variety of local economic development activities, ranging from developing public art spaces to forming Business Improvement Districts. In the FY 2016 budget, we allocated nearly $1.3 million to the Initiative, which resulted in the establishment of 57 separate projects throughout the City.

The Council renewed funding for Minority and Women-Owned Business Leadership Associations to ensure that the City’s minority and women-owned entrepreneurs (M/WBEs) have guidance on submitting bids for government contracts, resources for marketing services to connect with potential customers, and project assistance in securing financing and developing proposals. Eight leadership associations were funded in the FY 2016 budget, connecting M/WBEs throughout the City with business development training and support.

In 2015, we launched the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI), which brought together community, government, academic, and business leaders to address the many obstacles that young women of color face in overcoming economic and workforce disparities, among others. For four months, YWI’s Economic and Workforce Development Working Group met in bi-weekly meetings with the objective of crafting policies and legislation to enable young women of color in the City to find meaningful career opportunities. We are eagerly awaiting the policy recommendations of the Initiative’s working groups.