Mayor de Blasio today announced a new $37 million violence intervention employment program that will create 1,500 jobs in Brownsville, South Jamaica, East, and Central Harlem, Mott Haven, and across the Bronx. The initiative connects individuals at risk of involvement in gun violence with good-paying green jobs in partnership with BlocPower, a Brooklyn-based climate technology startup working to make American cities greener, smarter, and healthier.
“A recovery for all of us does not exist unless each and every New Yorker feels safe,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By providing training and employment opportunities to those at risk of gun violence, we can stop violence before it happens and invest in safer communities.”
The precision employment program focuses on communities experiencing 50% or more of shootings citywide, with explicit interest in those most vulnerable in these neighborhoods. The first wave of hiring will include over 200 residents from neighborhoods facing disproportionate levels of gun violence. Working with local community organizations, referred individuals identified as at-risk in Brownsville, Brooklyn; Mott Haven in the Bronx; and South Jamaica, Queens will receive hard and soft skills training to prepare them for successful employment before getting matched with placements at various job sites.
The hybrid training curriculum includes OSHA training, classes on important business communication and technical skills, conflict resolution strategies, de-escalation techniques, and access to culturally competent, trauma-based counseling and other wrap-around services. These trainings will help ensure the successful integration of participants into a workforce environment.
Upon completion of their initial training period, participants will be certified on various green energy technologies and eligible for in-demand, good-paying jobs, such as those with BlocPower. Since its founding in 2014, the company has retrofitted more than 1,100 buildings in under-served communities in New York City, with projects underway in 26 cities.
“BlocPower stands ready to help at-risk New York City young people break the cycle of gun violence by introducing them to a rewarding career in clean energy that will improve their lives and the lives of millions of other people,” said Donnel Baird, CEO and co-founder of BlocPower. “This project addresses social, economic and environmental injustices that impact low-income neighborhoods, and people of color, and aligns with what BlocPower is trying to accomplish – improving the health and well-being of New Yorkers and creating opportunities to bring economic prosperity back to the communities that need it most.”
The targeted green jobs program is the latest effort by the City to address the recent increase in gun violence, while investing in the long-term success of both communities and residents. To address the recent increase in gun violence, the City launched Safe Summer NYC, which seeks to tackle the public health and safety challenges by expanding community-led and based violence interrupters through the Crisis Management System (CMS). Housed within the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), the CMS network’s interventions and approaches have successfully reduced and prevented violence in at-risk communities since its inception in 2014.
“Safety is not simply the absence of crime,” said Marcos Solos, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “It starts with individuals having access to basic needs, like good-paying jobs, job training, and support services that provide meaningful work. We’re proud to partner with BlocPower to help build the foundation for long-term safety.”
This new employment initiative engages individuals identified as at-risk of being a victim or perpetrator of gun violence. Program participants are connected with immediately available gainful employment opportunities and a pathway to permanent and well-paying jobs at a salary no lower than $20 per hour. As part of the precision employment program, BlocPower will work with the City and local community organizations in each neighborhood as part of a cohesive Program Team of case managers, workforce instructors, credible messengers, community historians, and neighborhood stakeholders to identify ideal candidates and onboard participants.