March 18, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Actions to Increase Diversity in State Government

Governor Cuomo Announces Actions to Increase Diversity in State Government

Governor creates Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion to accelerate hiring of minorities in state governmentSeries of career fairs – starting at this weekend’s SOMOS El Futuro Conference – to recruit and promote opportunities for minority candidates to join the state government workforceActions build on Governor’s record of strengthening diversity – including nation’s highest MWBE goal and near doubling of minorities in Executive positions since 2008

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced two significant actions to increase and strengthen diversity in the state government workforce. First, the Governor is creating an Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion to focus on accelerating the hiring of strong minority candidates for positions in the state government workforce. The Advisory Council will be chaired by the New York Secretary of State. Additionally, the Governor announced a series of career fairs to be held over the coming weeks to help increase the representation of minorities in state government’s workforce. The first such career fair will be held this weekend, in partnership with the annual SOMOS El Futuro Spring Conference in Albany.

Under Governor Cuomo, New York State has made dramatic strides to create and strengthen opportunities for minority communities. The Governor doubled the state’s MWBE goal in his first year in office to 20 percent, and in 2014 increased that goal again to 30 percent of all state contracts – the highest such goal in the nation. The Governor has also nearly doubled the representation of minorities on his executive staff compared to previous governors – from 15.5 percent in 2008 to 27 percent today. The Governor is committed to furthering that progress, and specifically with regard to minority hiring across the entirety of the state’s public sector workforce.

“New York’s diversity has always been its greatest strength,” said Governor Cuomo. “Our MWBE program has become a national model, and we are going to do the same with our hiring practices so that the state’s workforce reflects the strength of our communities. We believe that bringing people together and being inclusive – not divisive – is the best way to create a state that works for everyone, and together we will continue to raise the bar and build a better future for all New Yorkers.”

In 2015, minorities represented 25.7 percent of the state government workforce, up from 24.2 percent in 2010 and 23.3 percent in 2005. The Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion has been charged with accelerating this rate of progress overall by recruiting more racial and ethnic minorities to work in state government. Their work will include examining relevant data and best practices in both the public and private sectors; identifying challenges and opportunities within the existing system; and collaborating with key State agencies to develop a Five-Year Strategic Plan for Statewide Diversity and Inclusion.

A breakdown of current minority representation in state government workforce, compared to the state’s workforce as a whole is below:


Percent of NY's Workforce

Percent of NYS Government Workforce




African American









The members of the advisory council are:

  • Secretary of State Nominee Rossana Rosado (Chair)
  • Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chairman of the Somos el Futuro Conference
  • Assemblyman Nick Perry, Chair of the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus
  • Chief Diversity Officer Rose Rodriguez
  • Commissioner of Civil Service Lola Brabham
  • Deputy Secretary for Labor Elizabeth de Leon Barghava

Secretary of State Nominee Rossana Rosado said: “I applaud Governor Cuomo’s efforts to make our State government more inclusive and reflective of the people it serves. I look forward to Chairing the Council and working with the other members to make the Governor’s commitment in State government to diversity a reality.”

Assemblyman Crespo said: “Today we are taking a giant step towards strengthening diversity in state government workforce. These job fairs are an important platform that will not only connect individuals with diverse backgrounds to career opportunities, but increase minority representation and engage all of New York’s communities.The Council’s work will help build on this state’s legacy as a leader in minority empowerment and I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to expanding opportunity for all New Yorkers.”

Assemblyman Perry said: “I am honored to be selected to serve on Governor Cuomo's Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion. I look forward to working with the Governor and my fellow panel members to increase opportunities for underrepresented minorities in state government. Diversity in the workplace means that many of those who have previously been simply passed over or intentionally denied the opportunity to serve will now have the chance to use their talents towards building our communities and the Empire State. The upcoming series of career fairs, kicking off with one this weekend at SOMOS, should help both the state identify qualified minority candidates and expose potential jobs candidates to the benefits of working within the state government.”

Rose Rodriguez, Chief Diversity Officer of New York State, said: “Governor Cuomo has taken decisive action to empower New Yorkers by dismantling barriers to social and economic mobility and promoting equal access for all. The Council’s work will allow the administration to identify additional opportunities for furthering the Governor’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

Lola W. Brabham, Acting Commissioner of the Department of Civil Service, said: “We are committed to implementing reforms that are sustainable and will set the stage for a national workforce diversity model. The work of the Council on Diversity and Inclusion will allow us to design and implement a robust and meaningful agenda to increase diversity throughout the state’s workforce. Performance metrics will be used to promote accountability and identify measurable results.”

Upcoming Career Fairs & Minority Recruitment Efforts

Governor Cuomo also announced that more than two dozen state agencies are discussing public sector careers with college students and all interested job seekers at the 29th annual SOMOS El Futuro Spring Conference on Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19, at the Empire State Plaza in Albany. The two-day job fair will feature a Career Boot Camp both days led by the Departments of Civil Service and Labor, as well as state agency booths where job seekers will be able to obtain information about current employment opportunities and services.

As part of this career fair, the Department of Civil Service is leading presentations to help job seekers connect with state employment opportunities focusing on the civil service exam and hiring process, as well as highlighting Governor Cuomo’s hiring programs for veterans and internship opportunities for students. This includes information on state jobs with second language fluency requirements. Additionally, the Department of Labor is hosting demonstrations on Governor Cuomo’s Jobs Express website, which currently features more than 115,000 available New York-based jobs.

The SOMOS Statewide Career Fair will be the kick-off to similar events that will be planned around the state with the goal of increasing diversity and establishing a pipeline for state careers. As more events are announced, they will be found at: and

Other upcoming career fairs include:

April 7, 2016, 10am – 2pm
SUNY Broome Martin Luther King Jr. Job Fair
SUNY Broome Ice Center, Binghamton, NY

April 19, 2016, 10am – 1pm
Columbia-Greene Community College Job Fair
Columbia Greene Community College, Hudson, NY

April 26, 2016, 9am -1:30pm; 4:30pm – 5:30pm
Broome-Tioga BOCES Spring Career Fair
BT BOCES Gymnasium
435 Glenwood Road, Binghamton, NY

May 11, 2016, 3pm – 7pm
Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce Annual Spring Job Fair
Westside Ballroom, Plattsburgh, NY

May 12, 2016, 11am-3pm
Hostos Community College Career Fair
500 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY

Today’s announcements continue to build on Governor Cuomo’s legacy of expanding opportunity, promoting inclusion and standing up for minority groups in New York State. Past accomplishments include:

Increased Minority and Women Representation in State Contracts
Governor Cuomo increased the MWBE state contract utilization goal from 10 to 20 percent in 2011 – ultimately resulting in a 25 percent MWBE state contract utilization in fiscal year 2013-14. The Governor increased that goal again to 30 percent in 2014 – representing the highest such target in the nation for a state government. Under the Governor’s leadership, more than 4,300 MWBEs have been certified, more than 3,600 have been recertified, and more than $6.3 billion in state contracts have been secured by minority- or women-owned businesses. As a result, MWBE certification and utilization on state contracts has more than doubled in just five years.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy for SUNY
Governor Cuomo established a new policy for the State University of New York that included a Chief Diversity Officer for every SUNY campus. The policy also included establishment of strategic plans to increase diversity among students, faculty and staff, as well as customized cultural competency training, and annual reporting on policy progress that is linked to leadership evaluations.

Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration/Fair Chance Hiring
The Governor’s Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration has promoted collaboration among state, local, and private agencies as well as community groups to address a wide range of issues pertaining to successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals, including housing, employment, healthcare, education, behavior change, and Veterans services. One of the recommendations adopted by the Governor was a “fair chance hiring” policy for New York State agencies, under which candidates for competitive positions with State agencies are no longer required to discuss or disclose information about prior convictions until and unless the agency has interviewed the candidate and is interested in hiring him or her. This approach removes obstacles that could prevent qualified candidates from access to quality jobs working for New York State.

Honoring and Supporting Veterans
At the Governor’s direction, the Department of Civil Service developed a user-friendly mechanism to effectuate the Veterans Employment Act. The Veterans Temporary Hiring Program Portal provides a centralized location for qualifying veterans to submit up-to-date employment and contact information for consideration by State agencies filling temporary positions. A State agency must select a veteran from the veteran temporary hiring list when making a temporary appointment provided the veteran possesses the applicable skills needed for the temporary assignment. In addition, the Governor signed the Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act into law, establishing a six percent goal for participation on state contracts by these businesses in addition to other measures to support disabled veteran-owned companies.

Public Accommodation Protection for People with Disabilities
Governor Cuomo signed legislation strengthening protections for people with disabilities who are refused access to places of public accommodation (such as hotels, restaurants, retail stores, recreation or entertainment venues and hospitals). The law clarified that it is discriminatory for an operator – public or private – to refuse to remove certain architectural or communication barriers in these spaces. The Governor also signed legislation directing the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to examine state laws and regulations pertaining to military family members and suggest any necessary improvements to make those laws and regulations better serve the families of people with developmental disabilities.

Women’s Equality Agenda
Governor Cuomo proposed and signed into law provisions of the women’s equality agenda including protections for women in pay equity, employment discrimination based on familial status and pregnancy, as well as protections for victims of domestic violence.

Protecting Civil Rights for the LGBT Community
In his first year in office, Governor Cuomo led the fight for marriage equality, ultimately signing it into law after it had failed repeatedly in the legislature in earlier years. The Governor has also taken action to help ensure transgender New Yorkers receive equal access to their health insurance coverage, including through Medicaid, and revised the state’s birth certificate policy so that birth certificates with corrected gender markers are issued when a licensed medical provider states that a transgender individual has received appropriate clinical treatment. In 2015 the Governor issued new regulations to include transgender status under New York’s Human Rights Law – ensuring that harassment and discrimination against transgender people is unlawful statewide.

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