Having focused on real estate finance and city planning for her two master’s degrees, Abby Jo Sigal might not seem like the logical choice to lead talent and workforce development for New York City Mayor Eric Adams. But her career trajectory suggests otherwise.
“Investing in talent is central to a 21st century economic development strategy,” says Sigal. And her skill at intersecting real estate finance and city planning with research about models of employment, community needs, and growing industries is crucial for developing talent.
Sigal’s nearly 30-year career has reached multiple sectors, including community development and affordable housing. Most recently, she founded and led HERE to HERE, a nonprofit that aims to enhance career pathways for NYC youth from low-income families and help industry find local talent.
Her new role is an opportunity to create systemic change citywide to position NYC employers for success. “One of our tasks is aligning the talent, workforce, and education systems with growing industries in a way that isn’t always playing catch-up but in fact drives their competitive advantage,” Sigal says.
To this end, she led the creation of an executive order, signed by Mayor Adams in August, that streamlines the efforts of nearly two dozen city agencies and offices to administer programs to train, employ, and support workers. One new initiative will help place nearly 2,300 low-income workers in industrial and construction careers.
“[These are] the critical first steps to building a citywide strategy to fully tap this talent so that every New Yorker can contribute to—and benefit from—an inclusive, thriving economy,” Sigal says.