The Connect Long Island Partnership Is Implementing an Economic Transformation Strategy

The Connect Long Island Partnership Is Implementing an Economic Transformation Strategy

Connect Long Island Partnership


The Connect Long Island Partnership is implementing an economic transformation strategy for the Long Island Region. Connect Long Island began as an initiative of state and local workforce leaders in collaboration with the Long Island Forum for Technology, Inc. (LIFT), the Island’s major manufacturing industry association. The Connect Long Island Executive Committee is the governing body for the initiative, with LIFT serving as the project manager. The Committee includes representatives of the local workforce investment boards for the Town of Hempstead/City of Long Beach, the Town of Oyster Bay Consortium and SuffolkCounty, along with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), the Long Island – Regional Adult Education Network and New York State Empire State Development. The Executive Committee oversees workgroups that concentrate on the skills analysis, education and the workforce.

The establishment of Connect Long Island is a result of the efforts of its founders to foster the collaboration, even before a dedicated funding stream was available. It gained structure and momentum as it was designed to fit the model of the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Workforce Innovation through Regional Economic Development” or “WIRED” initiative. Although it was not selected for WIRED funding, the momentum of Connect Long Island moved forward as its partners were convened in a major symposium in June of 2007. Its momentum continued and the structure of its foundation was solidified with the award of funding under the NYSDOL Regional Economic Transformation Strategies through a Sector or Cluster-Based Approach (Request for Proposals Number 13N). This funding was awarded in response to a collaborative proposal, led by the Connect Long Island Executive Committee and submitted by LIFT to NYSDOL. The grant was awarded to LIFT, in the amount of $1.6 million, thus creating a significant source of revenue, through which the three local workforce investment areas of the region conducted strategic planning and sector-based training.

The Connect Long Island strategy focuses on attracting, developing and retaining workforce talent for Long Island’s largest and fastest growing industries. After its initial implementation, several years ago, it is now driving Long Island’s regional economic transformation by aligning the services of multiple organizations. The result is higher quality services for employers, jobseekers and incumbent workers throughout the region. These services include the capacity to provide skills training to an additional 1,000 individuals (to date), above existing funding resources, through a regionally centralized process.

The success of the NYSDOL 13N Transformation Grant led to the award of a Regional Innovation Grant (RIG) by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Long Island Regional Innovation Grant (LIRIG) Projectwas funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor to the Town of Hempstead Department of Occupational Resources (DOOR), on behalf of the Connect Long Island Partnership. The purpose of the LIRIG Project was to enhance our regional economic transformation strategy by creating a Strategic RegionalImplementation Plan to convert dislocated workers into skilled workers in our talent pipeline. The Plan was composed after conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats or “SWOT” Analysis in two categories. Category One of the SWOT Analysis, prepared by LIFT, focuses on Rapid Response and Business Retention. The LIFT SWOT Analysis utilized a novel approach to procure information. The approach employed facilitated emergency management “table top” exercises, involving key stakeholders, including members of the LIRIG Innovation Workgroup, along with service providers involved in Rapid Response and Business Retention. Category Two, prepared by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR), in association with the Scott Skodnek Business Development Center of Hofstra University, focuses on Entrepreneurship, which is a pathway to reemployment whose potential is often not fully appreciated in the context of regional transformation efforts.

The CGR/Hofstra team implemented a creative mix of surveys, research and information interviews to complete this portion of the SWOT Analysis. The recommendations of both SWOT teams are incorporated into the Implementation Plan. The Plan describes a process to communicate the details of dislocation events to stakeholders beyond the Rapid Response system, categorize worker skills, crosswalk those skills with industry occupational data, and create a transparent web-based skills data base. It was designed by DOOR, LIFT, CGR, HofstraUniversity, the Long Island LWIBs, NYSDOL and the other key stakeholders who participate on our Innovation Workgroup, along with the Connect Long Island Executive Committee.

The LIRIG Projectis closely aligned with 13N. Both the LIRIG and the 13N Projects supported our overarching transformation strategy. The purpose of the RIGRegional Strategic Implementation Plan is to create a regional strategic planning process to equip dislocated workers with the information and skills needed to navigate emerging career pathways in transformative industry sectors. Strategies contained in the Plan will also benefit economically disadvantaged adults, youth, veterans, individuals with disabilities, older workers and other underutilized workers. The Plan and a summary are available at:

Through the implementation of the Plan we hope to realize the following vision:

We envision a regional economic transformation on Long Island that will be achieved through the efficient leveraging of the Connect Long Island Partnership to create and maintain:

A sturdy foundation for innovation, entrepreneurship and investment

Business and industry growth and prosperity

A highly talented workforce that engages all workers to their fullest potential

Education and training curricula that meet the demands of evolving career pathways

Wages that are commensurate with the local standard of living and that support a high quality of life

A cost effective, attractive, environmentally friendly healthy place for workers to advance in their careers, raise families and contribute to our future

II.Outcomes and Promising Practices

The following are outcomes and promising practices achieved by the Connect Long Island to date:

Trained 1,000 incumbent workers and unemployed individuals

Established a Regional Strategic Implementation Plan to help satisfy industry skill demands with dislocated and underutilized workers

Established annual regional meeting of the three Long Island Workforce Investment Boards

Implemented an Industry Skills Demand Survey

Implemented a Worker Skills Supply Survey at regional rapid response events

Cross-referenced worker skills supply survey data with industry demand data

Applied mapping technology to identify industry locations and worker skill clusters (For a demonstration, visit

Applied emergency management principles and techniques to evaluate and improve our rapid response process

Posted a Dislocation Event Log on-line for strategic planning

Conducted analysis and planning to develop a significant portion of our talent pipeline through entrepreneurial training

Enhanced our regional leadership and collaboration, evidenced by our success in forming grant project consortia and in accessing grant funds for the benefit of the region

Positioned Long Island to react quickly and effectively to opportunities for innovation created by the Recovery Act

Identified technology options that will support transformation activities

Developed the Green and Lean and YouthLink Projects (Funded under New York State Department of Labor Grants)

Implemented new curricula for Summer Youth Employment and Training Programs, developed by Paxen Learning Corporation, including: From STEM to Stern – Long Island’s Future and Green Jobs in the Economy

III.Leveraged Resources

Grant funding and leveraged resources are continually pursuedto sustain the Connect Long Island transformation strategy. For example, applications for the following grants have been submitted by on behalf of the region:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/New YorkState Office of Mental Health Medicaid Infrastructure Grant
  • NYSDOL RFP for Emerging and Transitional Worker Training – Bid #: Q-37)
  • NYSDOL RFP for Disconnected Youth Training – Bid # 46-Q
  • USDOL American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Solicitation for Energy Partnership Grants, Funding - # SGA/DFA PY 08-18
  • USDOL ARRA of 2009 Solicitation for Health Care Sector Grants, Funding # SGA/DFA PY 08-18


The Regional Strategic Transformation Plan developed under our RIG is the blueprint for sustaining the Connect Long IslandPartnership. The Executive Committee is approaching all projects involving the stakeholders as part of this transformation effort. Major regional assets will be leveraged to ensure timely implementation. Social networking efforts will be undertaken on an on-going basis by the Executive Committee to ensure all regional stakeholders are engaged. This social networkingwill ensure that all stakeholder groups are at the discussion table and that new stakeholder groups are continually added, based on regional data analysis. The commitment of the Connect Long Island partners will consist, not only of time and the sharing of ideas, but also of leveraging resources. Grant funding, awarded under 13-N and RIG,is merely seed money that represents a small fraction of the total assets needed to revitalize Long Island’s massive economy. This means that true commitment to the Connect Long Island Partnership will require the partners to continue to invest their resources in a concerted effort to achieve the transformation that Long Islanders envision and deserve.

V.Alignment of Resources

The Table below indicates some of the resources that are aligned throughout our region through the Connect Long Island initiative.

program/funding source
WIA Title I:
(1) Adults and Dislocated Workers
(2) Youth
(3) Job Corps
(4) Native American Programs
(5) Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker
(6) Veterans' Workforce Programs
Wagner-Peyser Act
Trade Adjustment Assistance and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Transitional Adjustment Assistance
Activities Authorized under Chapter 41 of Title 38 Local Veterans Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans Outreach Programs
Programs Authorized under State Unemployment Compensation Laws
WIA Title II Adult Education and Literacy Act
Title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Title V of the Older Americans Act
Post Secondary Vocational Education Activities Authorized under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act
Employment and Training Activities under the Community Services Block Grant
Employment and Training Activities Conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
TANF Programs Authorized under Part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act
Employment and Training Programs Authorized under Section 6(d)(4) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977
Work Programs Authorized under Section 6(o) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977
Programs authorized under the National and Community Service Act
Other Appropriate Programs, including Programs Relating to Transportation and Housing, Etc.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Under 13N, courses of study provided by colleges and universities were selected and aligned with industry demands and worker skill gaps. In addition, grant funds accessed through some of the sources identified above, are being applied to maintain continuity in the region’s transformation process. Through coordination with the workforce system, economic development, education and organized labor, enhanced alignment is anticipated.

VI.Business Engagement

Serving in the role of Connect Long Island Project Manager, LIFT is a non-for-profit economic development organization working with the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The organization serves as NYSTAR®’s designated RegionalTechnologyDevelopmentCenter for Long Island and one of nearly 350 MEP locations across the country. LIFT partners with local companies, organizations, universities and the national laboratory systems. Most recently LIFT opened its Applied Science Center of Innovation and Excellence in Homeland Security. With its large membership and extensive networking capacity, LIFT provides an invaluable connection to the business community. This connection is utilized to access research data, such as industry skill demands, to convene joint strategic planning sessions and to implement workforce training. As an industry association, LIFT leverages its credibility with a variety of businesses and industries to engage business in the work of Connect Long Island. Businesses are also engaged through the participation of other organizations in the partnership, such as the Alliance for Diversification in Peacetime Transition, Inc. (ADDAPT), the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, etc.

Connect Long Island initially engaged the industry sector s of Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology because these sectors were considered to offer the greatest opportunities for economic transformation across the broadest array of industry clusters. Research conducted by LIFT under the 13N grant identified industry skill demand from the following clusters within these major sectors: Biotech; Defense/Aerospace/Homeland Security; Energy; Food; Health care; Medical Device; Pharma; Arts/Computer graphics; Test and Measurement; Software.

Businesses that provide research data regarding their skills demands have realized a return on their investment of time in the form of the delivery of targeted training from local colleges and universities, funded by 13N to address skills gaps of both prospective and incumbent workers. Aligning industry skills demand data with worker skills supply data is a transformational approach that Connect Long Island is working to perfect through the application of technology and partnerships. The process implemented in connection with the Advanced Manufacturing and IT sectors can be replicated in other sectors, as well. Most recently, on behalf of Connect Long Island, LIFT developed a map to depict the overlap of manufacturing skills identified under 13N with skills associated with “green” jobs identified by O’Net. In pursuit of transformation through development of green jobs in the economy, Connect Long Island is working to engage new partners, such as: Long Island Builders Institute, Long Island Power Authority,National Grid and United Way of Long Island.