Gov. Kathy Hochul this week approved a plan for the state to hire migrants to fill 4,000 open entry-level state positions in roles including food service and equipment repair. The plan would help to cut down on the current 10,000 estimated vacant positions the state is seeking to fill.

Under Hochul’s proposal, the migrants would not need to take the state’s civil service exam. The Civil Service Commission voted to approve the measure on Jan. 18.

While New York state Senate Labor Committee chair Jessica Ramos supports the plan, she also says the state needs to get the word out among high school students that public service is a worthy choice.  

“I think that every single New Yorker that can and wants to work should be able to work, especially, I think, when we start looking at our state jobs and how many of them are readily available,” Ramos told Capital Tonight. “For any of your viewers looking for work, please consider taking a civil service exam.”

To that end, Ramos has introduced a bill that prepares high school students for the world of work.  

“I want every single New York high school student to graduate knowing about these civil service exams, knowing how to read their paycheck, knowing how to file wage theft claims, knowing how to organize a union,” she said. 

Ramos’ bill establishes a workplace readiness week, during which high school students would be educated about their workplace rights.

Ramos is also urging her colleagues in the Legislature to raise taxes on the very wealthy to fight inequality in New York.  

“In a state where we see that income inequality is worse than ever — we had 120 billionaires in New York state prior to the pandemic, we’re up to 135 today — that only means that more money is being hoarded,” she said. “It is not being circulated in our communities.”

When asked about the possibility of high-income earners leaving the state, she’s doesn’t buy it.

“I know they (critics of raising taxes on the wealthy) don’t like to hear it, but it’s just untrue. We should be more worried about who is leaving the state right now – people who work, work, work, work (and) can’t afford to buy a house here and end up moving to New Jersey, Pennsylvania buying a house there,” she said. “No, we want them to be able to invest and afford to buy a house here in New York.”