FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG OUTLINES EXPANSION OF JOB PLACEMENT SERVICES ADMINISTERED THROUGH WORKFORCE1 CENTERS IN ALL FIVE BOROUGHS
Set to Match Last Year's Record of More than 17,000 Job Placements, Workforce1 Centers Will Increase Available Services by Nearly One-Third with New Evening and Weekend Hours
With Economy in Decline, Today's
Announcement is Part of
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh today outlined the expansion of free job placement services through New York City's Workforce1 Career Centers. Starting this week, the hours of operation at the career centers in all five boroughs will be extended, significantly increasing the availability of services during evenings and weekends. Even before the expansion, the City is set to match the more than 17,000 job placements achieved in 2007, the highest total ever - and far above the approximately 600 job placements that occurred before the Bloomberg Administration created the Workforce1 Centers. With the economy in decline, today's announcement is part of a series of initiatives announced by the Bloomberg Administration to help more New Yorkers stretch their paychecks further and weather the storm. The Mayor made the announcement at the recently opened Workforce1 Career Center on East 163rd Street in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx, the seventh center opened by the Bloomberg Administration. The centers exist in all five boroughs and help New Yorkers prepare for and find employment, and they link local employers with skilled workers. The Mayor was also joined at the opening by Raul Figueroa, who recently secured a job with AT&T Wireless through the Hunts Point Workforce 1 Career Center, and Sandra Ruiz Butter, President of VIP Community Services, the not-for-profit organization that operates the Hunts Point center.
"Despite the downturn in the economy, our Workforce1 Career Centers are on pace to match last year's record-setting total of more than 17,000 job placements. But we can do more," said Mayor Bloomberg. "In these tough economic times, we're doing everything we can to help New Yorkers keep the jobs they have and help those who don't have jobs to find them. Starting tomorrow, we're significantly increasing the hours of operation at all seven of our Workforce1 Career Centers across the City, including adding weekend hours. It's one of the 18 initiatives we devised in October to help New Yorkers ride out this economic downturn and speed our City's recovery. Today, we're following up that announcement with action."
"By establishing relationships with local businesses and offering them recruitment services of value, we have increased the number of New Yorkers that we place in jobs at our Workforce1 Career Centers across the City from 127 per quarter in 2004 to more than 4,000 per quarter today," said Commissioner Walsh. "Hunts Point is home to one of the most important food distribution centers in the world, and the opening of this Center will not only help jobseekers, but also help the community's local businesses become more competitive by linking them with a skilled and qualified labor force."
By leveraging $4.25 million in State funds, starting tomorrow the City will keep each center open until 8:00 PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM. on alternative Saturdays. Until now, the seven Workforce1 Career Centers have operated only Monday through Friday and only until 5:00 PM. In total, the hours of operation at the Centers will increase by roughly one-third. The expansion is one of 18 initiatives announced by Mayor Bloomberg in October 2008 to help New Yorkers face current economic challenges. The City will also invest nearly $3 million to upgrade and expand the Workforce1 technology infrastructure to enhance the process of matching jobseekers to job opportunities.
SBS partnered with the New York State Department of Labor and the City University of New York to create the seven Workforce1 Career Centers to help New York City residents find and prepare for employment, by providing an array of services. Those include job placement services, job search resource rooms, personalized career counseling, advice on how to interview for a job, assistance creating resumes and cover letters, help preparing for a job, career workshops, GED and ESL classes and vouchers for job training.
The establishment of the new permanent Workforce1 Career Center is the latest piece of the Hunts Point Vision Plan, a comprehensive plan announced by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005 to promote a competitive business environment and sustainable community on the Hunts Point Peninsula in the South Bronx. When the plan was announced, SBS began operating a pilot career center in Hunts Point that placed 888 New Yorkers in jobs over 15 months. The permanent center will aim to place more than 2,250 New Yorkers in jobs over the next three years. In addition to workforce training, the Hunts Point Vision Plan includes an array of initiatives related to zoning changes, transportation improvements, infrastructure upgrades and park development. The City has established new truck routes to improve traffic and air quality, built two new parks that add seven acres of new open space, and worked with private sector entities to develop some of the neighborhood's vacant parcels. Earlier this year, a major rezoning, designed to encourage more commercial activity and create sustainability-related requirements, was completed.
New York City Workforce1 Career Centers (call 311 or centers for more information):
Queens - LaGuardia Community
Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
Larry Scott Blackmon (SBS) (212) 513-6318