Mayor de Blasio To Award Microgrants To Support Workforce Training Programs From Harlem To Hollis

July 18, 2019

The de Blasio Administration today awarded microgrants to seven joint ventures that all specialize in workforce development.

These award winners will research and plan innovative approaches the City can take to amplify training and hiring of underrepresented New Yorkers in tech and other in-demand sectors. The seven winning proposals are made up of best-in-class community-based organizations, training providers, higher education institutions, and research and consulting firms.

The grants, which total $550K, were made available through a joint Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) issued by New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development (WKDEV) earlier this year. Awardees are expected to deliver a mix of actionable blueprints for employers and training providers, focused recommendations to policymakers and funders, and specific programming ideas.

“Increasing access to the jobs of tomorrow in fast-growing sectors to underrepresented New Yorkers is key to leveling the economic playing field,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “I congratulate the organizations that were selected. Their strong track record of implementing effective development strategies will help strengthen the City’s workforce and prepare New Yorkers for jobs of the future.”

“These teams of local New York City organizations are exploring innovative approaches to workforce development in our changing economy.  We look forward to working with them to test and implement strategies helping New Yorkers from all of our communities connect to good jobs,” said Amy Peterson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development.

Selected teams that will receive funding include partnerships between multiple organizations with related missions and complementary areas of expertise. The selected teams are:

  • Research Foundation of the City University of New York (CUNY)
  • HR&A Advisors, Jobs for the Future, LaGuardia Community College
  • Urbane Development, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp
  • Per Scholas, General Assembly, The Door, NYC Employment and Training Coalition
  • Pursuit, Urban Upbound, New York Public Library, Queens Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, CUNY, Tech:NYC
  • Institute for Career Development, New York Institute of Technology
  • Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, Perch Advisors

A number of the proposals will seek to propose citywide recommendations and blueprints. As an example, the Per Scholas team will seek to deliver a blueprint for helping community-based organizations scale up their ability to provide bridge training to students in need, and New York Institute of Technology and the Institute for Career Development have been selected to leverage their combined expertise to address one of the most important challenges facing New York City: how to increase the pipeline of individuals with disabilities in the technology field and how to effectively connect employers to this talent pipeline. Meanwhile, other organizations will take a more place-based focus — the collaboration between Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow and Perch Advisors will focus specifically on Sunset Park, Brooklyn to address the skills gap for residents, working to make programming recommendations that leverage local assets and employers.

“New York City is a technological hub that has quickly become home base to many fast-growing, innovative sectors of business and finance. Many New Yorkers, however, are unable to access or grow within the tech industry or other in-demand sectors,” said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). “I applaud the de Blasio administration and NYCEDC for their work to improve the training and hiring of underrepresented New Yorkers through this grant program and their dedication to strengthening the diversity of our financial industries. I’m excited to see the impact of this continued technological and job growth, knowing that it will make our great city even stronger. I am delighted that several great organizations in my district, including LaGuardia Community College and Urban Upbound, will be participating in this grant program.”

“I have long championed extending job opportunities to New Yorkers who traditionally have not had access to opportunity. These seven proposals selected by EDC provide innovative ideas on how to ensure no New Yorker gets left behind in the modern economy. I thank these organizations and EDC for their diligent work and look forward to partnering with them on initiatives that promote greater opportunity throughout the five boroughs,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“I’ve been an advocate for tech jobs here on Staten Island for years,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “Now is the right time to make these investments and I’m excited to see what these grant recipients develop in terms of workforce training for the city, including Staten Island.”

“Congratulations to all of the community-based groups including our own LaGuardia Community College that will receive this much-needed funding,” said New York State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “I would like to thank NYCEDC President James Patchett for recognizing the great workforce development program that Dr. Gail Mellow of LaGuardia Community College has created to help our students and our community. Congratulations to Bishop Mitchell Taylor at Urban Upbound and the Queens Public Library for their successful work too. With the continued historical loss of industrial jobs, we need these important services.  Western Queens cannot just be a residential community, we need workforce development.”

“Along with affordability, workforce development is a pivotal issue of our time. The microgrants offered by the de Blasio administration are a critical investment that will ensure more New Yorkers have access to stable and fulfilling employment,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr. “I am glad to see that Brooklyn Public Library and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp made the cut.”

“Creating an equitable path into the growing tech sector and connecting our communities to good paying jobs is an investment in our City’s continued economic success,” said Council Member Paul Vallone. “I congratulate the selected grant awardees and look forward to seeing their proposals to strengthen this 21st century industry throughout the five boroughs in action.”

Council Member Peter Koo stated, “The City of New York is eager to tap into the ideas and innovations of the workforce development industry in order to help spur the creation of new jobs, tech solutions, and community development. Thank you to the EDC for its efforts to forge new partnerships with industry thought leaders that are sure improve the lives of all New Yorkers for years to come.”

“We are very excited about this planning grant. The grant gives us the opportunity to expand successful academic and co-curricular models across campuses to prepare many more of our students for success in the growing New York tech sector,” said Angie Kamath, University Dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, CUNY.

“All residents, regardless of the neighborhood or community they come from, should have access to 21st century tech jobs,” said Pursuit CEO and co-founder Jukay Hsu. “Pursuit is working with best-in-class partners — including the New York Public Library, Queens Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, NYCHA, CUNY, Urban Upbound, Tech:NYC, NY Tech Alliance  — to create an integrated ecosystem of services that will meet New Yorkers where they are, regardless of their skill sets. Through this critical work, we will enable everyone in our city to break into and build meaningful careers in tech. We’re proud to partner with NYCEDC, WKDEV, community, and industry partners on a plan that will create a model for an inclusive tech community fueled by the talents of all New Yorkers.”

“NYCETC has long supported NYCEDC in its job creation plans, that include quality education and skill-building initiatives for marginalized New Yorkers,” said Joey Ortiz, Executive Director of the NYC Employment and Training Coalition. “We are pleased to have been selected as a grantee alongside our colleagues at The Door, Per Scholas, and General Assembly. We look forward to being able to develop innovative tools and much needed framework required to meaningfully invest in programs that bridge New Yorkers into technical and non-technical career pathways growing within the innovation economy.”

“Per Scholas appreciates the opportunity to inform NYCEDC’s efforts to build more equitable pathways to tech careers for all New Yorkers,” said Kelly Richardson, Managing Director, Newark & New York, Per Scholas. “Investment in New York’s economic development is not inclusive unless it also includes investment in New Yorkers. Bridge programs are a proven model connecting New Yorkers to growth careers. We are excited to partner with the New York City Employment & Training Coalition, General Assembly, and The Door to develop a playbook and inform investment to bring bridge programs to scale across the five boroughs.”

“One of our biggest success stories for General Assembly New York is our bridge program with Per Scholas, CodeBridge, which has created pathways for hundreds of adults from underserved and overlooked communities into high-wage, in-demand careers in tech,” said Tom Ogletree, Senior Director of Social Impact and External Affairs. “Given the potential of technology to further exacerbate economic inequality, it’s critical for local and regional workforce and economic development groups to double down on solutions. We’re excited to team up with NYCEDC and our partners to strengthen the research base on bridge programs and spur deeper investment in their success.”

“At The Door we’ve proven that young adults from New York City’s most underserved communities have what it takes to make it in high-wage tech careers that offer growth and advancement in the 21st century workplace,” said Andrea Vaghy Benyola, Managing Director of Career and Education Services at The Door. “We couldn’t do it without NYCEDC and our partners – Per Scholas, General Assembly, and the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. Working together, we’ve developed data-based research about effective and innovative ways that New York City can strengthen and advance workforce development for our young people.  The result is successful bridge programming models such as TechBridge, The Door’s bridge program with Per Scholas, that ensure that populations who are underrepresented in the tech sector benefit from job opportunities.”

“HR&A Advisors is thrilled to be partnering with LaGuardia Community College, JFF and NYCEDC to tackle this critical issue for New York City’s future,” said Kate Wittels, Partner, HR&A Advisors. “New York is home to a wealth of homegrown talent, a deep bench of training providers and leading 21st Century firms. Improving the connection between training providers and employers is essential to ensuring that the city’s future workforce reflects the diversity and talent present in New York today.”

“We applaud NYCEDC for leading this bold initiative to ensure that 21st century jobs in the fast-growing tech sector are accessible and inclusive to all New Yorkers,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “We’re eager to get to work with our partners, HR&A Advisors and JFF—bringing best practices from our college’s years of experience working in lockstep with employers to create pathways for our students, many of whom come from traditionally marginalized communities, to develop their personal agency and move up the socioeconomic ladder.”

“We believe unleashing the untapped talents of NYC public housing residents will create a more effective, strong, and robust tech workforce,” said James Johnson-Piett, CEO, Urbane Development. “Working closely with our partners at Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, we plan to leverage a place-based research approach that values trusted relationships in the community to create lasting benefit on both the professional and personal daily lives of residents.”

“Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) is thrilled to partner with Perch Advisors and EDC to work with our Sunset Park community to develop workforce development strategies for incoming innovation economy jobs,” says Dr. Liliana Polo-Mckenna, CEO of OBT. “As a stakeholder in the working waterfront for over 35 years, it’s our responsibility to help change the narrative that this type of job creation is not meant for those who live here. Our research project will examine the skills and assets our communities have and the training and education that these jobs require. This learning will enable us to propose targeted interventions that bring employers to the table and bridge the gap between residents and high wage jobs.”

Initiatives like the Department of Small Business Services’ Tech Talent Pipeline Web Development Fellowship, a free program that prepares New Yorkers to launch a new career in web development, and CUNY 2x Tech, a public-private partnership that seeks to double the number of tech bachelor’s degrees from CUNY Colleges between 2017 and 2022, are emblematic of the City’s efforts to ensure that New Yorkers from a diversity of backgrounds are well-equipped for roles in the tech sector. In addition, several other public and private actors have had success with other program models both locally and nationally. These microgrants will support existing efforts by identifying additional program models or policy recommendations that the City should consider – particularly with an eye toward ensuring that New Yorkers coming from underrepresented populations have the support they need to participate in the opportunities created by the tech economy.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development drives an equity agenda for the future of work in New York City by ensuring the City invests in all New Yorkers, by driving high road jobs and employers, and by connecting the system to achieve better outcomes for New Yorkers and employers. For more information, visit

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