FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JANUARY 2, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 27
oped letters & comments
Investing in the
future of workers
JOSE ORTIZ, JR.
Talent can be found
in every town and
city, large and small,
across the nation. In
no place is this truer
than New York City.
Just take the subway from Coney Island to
Wakefi eld; the city is rich with human capital.
On that same ride, however, you are exposed
to a hard truth—while the city is experiencing
an economic boom, many are falling behind
as they lack work experience and professional
skills. Many face obstacles such as requirements
for credentials and hands-on experience,
histories with the criminal justice system,
disabilities or lack of access to a professional
DeAsia Zellner, a resident of Th e Bronx,
was one of these New Yorkers—struggling to
get by and fi nding herself living in a domestic
violence shelter when she became pregnant
with her son. Seeking a stable career for
a better life, Ms. Zellner started a job training
program at STRIVE, an organization in East
Harlem that facilitates professional development
and skills training. Aft er earning a
certifi cation in medical billing and coding,
Ms. Zellner started an entry-level job with a
major health care network in New York. She
later obtained a double master’s degree and
now earns a salary that is around the median
income for a household.
Th e obstacles that Ms. Zellner faced are all
too common, and are especially true for people
of color, young adults, family caregivers
and the formerly incarcerated. On a broader
level, the growth in America’s prime-age
labor force participation rate—the share of
those who are 25-54 years old and employed
or actively seeking work—has stagnated in
recent decades, underscoring the obstacles to
Organizations like STRIVE and pre-apprenticeship
programs such as Nontraditional
Employment for Women are eff ective at
improving the lives of thousands of people
like Ms. Zellner. Th ey also help our society as
a whole by improving labor force participation,
which supports economic growth.
Workers must develop skills to meet evolving
employer needs. Th ese complex challenges
require investments from government and
businesses to ensure that more people have
career pathways into these new roles. As the
story of DeAsia shows, we can equip people
with the 21st century skills needed to thrive.
We must do a better job of helping New
Yorkers and Americans gain the skills needed
to improve their lives and contribute to the
economy. Nonprofi t organizations are leading
the way, and it’s time for more employers and
government agencies to do their part.
Congresswoman Maloney (NY-12) is Vice
Chair of the Joint Economic Committee,
Chair of the House Oversight Committee
and a senior member of the House Financial
Services Committee. Jose Ortiz, Jr. is the
Executive Director of the New York City
Employment and Training Coalition.
HOW TO FIX NYC’S
A recent Business Insider survey
named New York City as the rudest city
in the United States.
Well, I disagree. We are not the number
one grinch in the United States. I
have lived in New York for the great part
of my 70 years — mainly in Queens.
As for myself, in my travels I happen
to make eye contact with someone and
smile and say “hello” and oft en have
that smile and hello returned.
Now to restore our standing as a most
friendly place, maybe we can off er a
friendly smile and a “hello.” We could
extend this gesture to where we shop
and bank. And on the busses and trains
we happen to board, maybe we can
open doors for others.
I feel it is a good idea for those of us to
step up to the plate and present a friendly
face. Th en, maybe no one can say we
are the rudest city in the United States.
Remember this too: Off er words of
kindness and say, “have a nice day!”
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,
Glen Oaks Village
NYC DOT NEEDS
“Investing in transportation is a no
brainer” (Stacey Pheff er Amato & Phil
Goldfeder -- December 19), but fi nding
funding to pay for it is.
Amato and Goldfeder failed to
explain who would pick up the tab.
NYC DOT has been unable to obtain
approval of a $97 million Federal
Transit Administration New Starts Full
Funding grant agreement to pay for the
$231 million Phase 2 Woodhaven Blvd
Bus Rapid Transit along the same corridor
for four years.
Even if the MTA considered being
the project sponsor, the odds of obtaining
a similar funding arrangement for
a $4 billion federal to support a $8 billion
total cost for reactivation of the
Rockaway Beach LIRR service are nonexistent.
Th e MTA has no interest in sponsoring
or pursuing funding from City Hall,
Albany or Washington.
Th ere is no funding included in the
$51 billion MTA 2020 - 2024 Five Year
Capital Program for this project. Ditto
for the current State April 1, 2019 -
March 30, 2020, or NYC July 1, 2019 -
June 30, 2020 municipal budgets.
Don’t be surprised when this project
is not included in the upcoming
MTA Twenty Year (2020 - 2040) Future
Capital Needs Assessment Report. It
was due to be released by the end of
No one has off ered millions in funding
to pay for the next step, which is a
formal Environmental Review. Th is is
supported by conceptual and preliminary
design and engineering. It supports
the environmental review process
and refi nes estimated project costs.
Without this, the project is dead and
buried. Th e environmental review process
would have to follow the National
Environmental Protection Act. Th is
would be part of the formal process
to become eligible for Federal Transit
Larry Penner, Great Neck
TIME FOR THE
TO END AMICABLY
It is now been three years since
1,800 hardworking members of Local
#3 IBEW were forced to go on strike
because Spectrum was not being fair
regarding their jobs and benefi ts.
Th ese dedicated men and women
have families to feed and take care of,
as well as bills to pay like everyone else.
Unemployment benefi ts only go so far,
and then what do these poor people
have to live on?
Why doesn’t Spectrum management
seriously consider sitting down with
these striking employees and working
with them to reach a just and equitable
resolution of this unnecessary labor
Th ese hardworking, dedicated workers
are long overdue for a decent wage
increase and improved benefi t packages.
As the old saying goes, “enough is
My late father was a proud Local #3
IBEW electrical worker for 44 years,
and his father was also Local # 3 IBEW
electrical worker for 32 years. Local #3
rocks, rolls and rules!
Th ose striking workers have the support
of this writer. Don’t let Spectrum
have the fi nal say here — continue to
fi ght for a decent salary increase and
better benefi ts package. You all certainly
John Amato, Fresh Meadows
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN FRESH MEADOWS // PHOTO VIA INSTAGRAM @tourguidebuddz
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