WPTI In the News: Executive Director Sharon Sewell Fairman’s Op-Ed Featured in City Limits

On December 22, 2020, WPTI Executive Director Sharon Sewell-Fairman published an op-ed in City Limits, titled, “How We Can Rebuild NYC’s Hospitality and Retail Industries.” The piece addresses the critical state of the city’s hospitality and retail sectors, and the impact this has had on New York City workers – with nearly one-third of all workers receiving unemployment benefits, and a disproportionate impact on people of color, young adults, immigrants, and entry-level workers. It discusses the role of WPTI’s current Employer Symposium Series in helping workforce providers better adapt to the rapidly changing needs of employers across multiple sectors, and offers key recommendations to the workforce community for an equitable economic recovery that serves all New Yorkers and prioritizes the needs of the most heavily-impacted communities.

The piece encourages employers to anticipate shifts in market demand and adapt accordingly, using the example of CVS’ hiring and training of more than 15,000 new pharmacy techs and other staff in anticipation of increased pharmaceutical demand due to rises in COVID-19 and flu cases, and discusses the importance of exposing entry-level workers to potential career pathways in hospitality and retail – such as inventory management and e-commerce website development – and investing in their long-term potential, particularly important in industries that often suffer from high turnover.

Ultimately, the op-ed makes the case for improved partnerships and coordination between government, nonprofit organizations (including workforce providers), and the private sector in order to develop a stronger workforce system that meets the needs of workers and supports the retail and hospitality industries, which play a central role in New York City’s economy.

To read the full piece, please click here.