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PR- 326-11
September 13, 2011


Mayor Outlines How Businesses Across the City Can Take Advantage of the Grants at a Brooklyn Wholesale Food Manufacturer that is Expanding as a Result of the City’s Workforce Assistance

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh today announced the latest round of NYC Business Solutions Training Funds to four businesses in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. The grants help businesses train new and existing employees to give them the up-to-date skills they need to grow their businesses. So far in 2011, the Department of Small Business Services has awarded nearly $700,000 in grants to 16 businesses, providing training to 300 New Yorkers and resulting in 45 new hires and an average wage increase for existing employees of 13 percent. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Walsh made the announcement at Terrafina, a wholesale food manufacturer in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, which is expanding, adding 25 jobs and seeking to relocate to a larger facility in New York City. They were joined by New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Member Sara M. González and Terrafina owner James Locke.

“Creating jobs is the primary goal of our economic development strategy, and the most effective way we’re doing it is creating conditions for growth and making it easier for businesses – large and small – to locate and expand in New York City,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “These workforce training grants give hundreds of small businesses like Terrafina the capacity to hire and train New Yorkers and increase their wages. It’s just one of the things we’re doing to help businesses and New York City’s economy grow, and it’s working.”

“Successful businesses invest in their people, and we want to make it as easy as possible for the small businesses that often cannot afford to create dedicated training programs to succeed and expand in New York City,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “These training grants allow entry-level workers to get the skills they need to be promoted, which means better wages for those workers and more openings for new entry-level workers. This combination of public and private investment is a win-win-win for employees, businesses and the City.”

“As the business climate gets tougher and more competitive, employers will need their workers to develop new skills,” said Commissioner Walsh. “NYC Business Solutions Training Funds enable businesses to invest in their workers, helping them acquire valuable skills that allow businesses to grow in New York City while creating new jobs and paying workers higher wages.”

“Strong small businesses are critical to our City’s long-term economic strength,” said New York City Economic Development President Pinsky. “Whether it’s infusing capital during early growth stages, increasing training for our City’s already stellar entrepreneurs, or helping newly established and expanding businesses find affordable workspace, we are committed to providing resources to help these businesses succeed. I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Walsh, and all our partners in government for their efforts to ensure small businesses, as well as New York City’s economy, continue to grow and thrive.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of Brooklyn’s economy, and these training funds will go a long way in teaching employees new skills, increasing wages and – perhaps equally as important in these tough economic times – creating jobs,” said Borough President Markowitz. “Bravo to Mayor Bloomberg, the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the employers themselves for recognizing the importance of job training to make us more competitive, and congratulations to Brooklyn's own Terrafina LLC and Abtron Associates on receiving this important investment in their futures.”

“Training Fund awards are one of the many innovative ways that our City is improving local businesses and strengthening our work force,” said Council Member González. “I thank the Bloomberg Administration for their efforts on this endeavor and congratulate the selected companies in my District for their commitment to the betterment of their business and community.”

The awards announced today – totaling more than $180,000 – will be matched by employer contributions of more than $104,000 and will be used to train 63 New Yorkers, resulting in 15 new hires and projected wage increases averaging 10 percent for currently employed trainees. Since the program’s inception in 2005, New York City has awarded more than $8.1 million to 117 companies to train nearly 5,000 workers.  The awards have been matched by more than $7.7 million in employer contributions. The Center for Economic Opportunity, established by Mayor Bloomberg in 2006 to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City, provides two-thirds of the program’s funding, with the federal Workforce Investment Act providing the remainder.

“This unique partnership encourages businesses to invest in their employees’ skills,” said NYC Center for Economic Opportunity Executive Director Veronica M. White. “Together, CEO and SBS support businesses' growth and help to advance employees through improved wages and promotions.”

“We have received considerable help from the City, particularly from the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, and also NYC Business Solutions with recruiting and general advice, and now these funds will allow us to better train our team, achieve greater efficiencies in systems and processes, and compete in a global marketplace,” said James Locke, CEO of Terrafina, LLC. “Terrafina will be moving to a new and much larger facility in New York City later this year. We plan on hiring at least 25 more employees over the next 18 months, and we are excited about our future plans.”

NYC Business Solutions Training Funds cover up to 70 percent of training costs, including external training providers, trainee and internal instructor wages, training facilities, and books and materials. The awards are administered by the Workforce Development Corporation, a non-profit organization under contract with the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Training Funds primarily support businesses engaging in training for the following reasons: investment in new equipment or software; investment in new products or markets; teaching employees to perform new or different jobs; updating obsolete skills or teaching advanced occupational skills. Applicants are judged based upon their ability to impact economic activity in New York City, provide entry-level and current workers with career advancement opportunities, and increase trainee wages.

The most recent NYC Business Solutions Training Funds were awarded to:

  • Terrafina LLC, a Brooklyn-based wholesale food manufacturer, will use a $27,824 Training Funds award, to train 12 incumbent employees in lean manufacturing, food safety training and English as a Second Language. The program is projected to result in an average wage increase of 10 percent for all trainees. The award will be matched by an employer contribution of a $15,900.
  • Abtron Associates is a Brooklyn-based business environmental contracting and demolition firm.  Abtron will use a $100,131 Training Funds award to train 26 employees in advanced asbestos and lead remediation techniques and specialized computer software. The program is projected to result in 11 new hires and an average wage increase of 12 percent for all trainees.  The award will be matched by an employer contribution of $57,218.
  • Jamaica Physical Therapy, a Queens-based physical therapy and rehabilitation office, will use a $29,785 Training Funds award to train 10 employees in electronic records management, billing and coding, and business communications.   The program is projected to result in an average wage increase of 16 percent.  The award will be matched by an employer contribution of $17,020.
  • Rennert International (Wall Street Languages), a Manhattan-based English and foreign language school, will use a $25,007 Training Funds award to train 15 employees in graphic design and advanced management skills. The program is projected to result in an average wage increase of 7 percent for all trainees.  The award will be matched by an employer contribution of $14,290.

An additional $500,000 in Training Funds are available. Applications for this round of funding are due Thursday, September 15 and pre-applications for the next round are due November 14.  New York City businesses can apply at, or by calling 311 and asking for "NYC Business Solutions Training.”


Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

Merideth Weber (SBS)   (212) 618-8971


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