LaGuardia and Hostos Community Colleges, in partnership with the New York Community Trust, are launching a new initiative to help low-income New York communities — with a focus on Queens and the Bronx — that have been disrupted by the pandemic of COVID-19. The NYC Accelerated Workforce Recovery Hub is a new model for high-quality, large-scale workforce development. It is funded by a $1.65 million seed grant from the New York Community Trust, the city’s community foundation. Additional donors and federal grants will help build and expand the Hub over time.
The Hub will provide workforce training for high-demand jobs to at least 400 New Yorkers during an initial 18-month pilot period. By helping colleges expand support services to connect graduates to jobs and higher education, the initiative is expected to ultimately reach more than 3,000 students.
“The pandemic has had a devastating economic impact on New Yorkers and taken a heavy toll on communities,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “We are grateful to the New York Community Trust for this support, which will help staff the workforce training programs at LaGuardia and Hostos Community Colleges. Preparing New Yorkers who have lost their livelihoods to COVID-19 for careers in high-demand sectors is a critical step in the recovery of our city and state.
“CUNY community college continuing education divisions are uniquely positioned to prepare people for well-paying jobs,” said Roderick Jenkins, program director for youth and workforce development at New York Community Trust. . “The Workforce Recovery Hub will ensure immediate and equitable access to workforce training for hundreds of unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers looking to advance their careers.”
“The Hub is a bold effort that will open access to a wide variety of high-demand workforce training programs through scholarships and holistic support services,” said LaGuardia Community College President , Kenneth Adams. “Our partners at New York Community Trust and community organizations and colleagues at CUNY and Hostos Community College share our goal of helping New Yorkers who have been severely impacted by the pandemic gain access to jobs that move them forward in life. and stability.
“Partnering with LaGuardia with support from the New York Community Trust to scale the NYC Accelerated Workforce Recovery Hub is an essential step in supporting the growth and empowerment of our communities that have been so severely impacted during these difficult times. “, Hostos said. Daisy Cocco De Filippis, President of the Community College. “Sharing our resources and our sense of education to positively impact New York’s workforce is important and we’re proud to be part of the job.”
Accelerated training for good jobs
NYC Accelerated Workforce Recovery Hub community partners in Queens and the Bronx will be engaged to recruit underemployed and unemployed residents eager to recover from the setbacks imposed by the ongoing pandemic. LaGuardia will collaborate with Commonpoint Queens and Queens Community House; Bronx partners are being selected.
Students will receive full and partial scholarships for high-quality accelerated college vocational training in programs such as physician assistant, practical nurse, electrical, pharmacy technician, patient care technology patients and IT support, to prepare them for well-paying jobs. who require industry-recognized certification to be hired. They will earn college credits that can be applied toward a college degree in the future.
The first cohort of around 50 students, expected to start in March, will receive training for one of eight jobs in healthcare, technology and construction. Each semester, the training programs will be reassessed to reflect the needs of an ever-changing job market.
Targeting those hardest hit by COVID-19
The NYC Accelerated Workforce Recovery Hub initiative aims to address critical workforce equity issues and the ability to scale high-impact workforce training programs within our communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially cruel to low-income communities of color in Queens and the Bronx, the communities served by LaGuardia and Hostos. Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have been infected at much higher rates than other groups, accounting for nearly 62% of all confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
These communities have also been the hardest hit by the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic. Two-thirds of pandemic-related job losses in New York City were to people of color, with Latinx workers accounting for 32% of jobs lost. The Bronx had the highest level of out-of-school and out-of-work young adults in 2020, at 37% of all young adults. According to a Pew Research Center report, black and Hispanic workers continue to face significantly higher unemployment rates than white workers; the same is true for less educated workers compared to more educated workers. According to data from Opportunity Insights, low-wage employment (defined as earning less than $27,000 a year) is still about 20% behind pre-pandemic levels.
Many Queens and Bronx residents don’t want to return to the low-wage, unstable restaurant and retail jobs that evaporated during the pandemic. Instead, they seek higher quality jobs with more stability and a brighter future for themselves and their families.