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PR- 325-12
September 12, 2012


Young Men's Initiative Program Seeks to Promote Responsible Fatherhood and Improve Educational and Employment Outcomes

Mayor Receives Honor from National Fatherhood Initiative

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today spoke to the first graduating class of the CUNY Fatherhood Academy at LaGuardia Community College – a program of the City’s Young Men’s Initiative – where he addressed graduates as well as the next incoming class. By connecting these men to services on a college campus, the Fatherhood Academy prepares 18-24 year old fathers for employment and entry into higher education, promotes responsible fatherhood and strengthens families’ economic stability. Of the 22 graduates, twelve have obtained permanent employment, six have enrolled at LaGuardia as incoming freshmen and four have taken and passed the G.E.D. exam. During the ceremony, the Mayor was presented with a Fatherhood Award™ from the National Fatherhood Initiative for launching and supporting the program. The Mayor was joined by President of LaGuardia Community College Dr. Gail O. Mellow, University Associate Dean for Continuing Education Suri Duitch, President of the National Fatherhood Initiative Roland C. Warren, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar, City-Wide Fatherhood Services Coordinator Alan S. Farrell and Campaign Manager for Campaign for Black Male Achievement at the Open Society Institute Shawn Dove.

“We cannot overestimate the importance that fathers play in their children’s lives,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The CUNY Fatherhood Academy is promoting the goals of the Young Men’s Initiative to strengthen family connections and educational and employment opportunities by teaching young fathers to become responsible caregivers, while helping them learn skills that will increase their employment options.”

“LaGuardia Community College creates opportunities for New Yorkers and helps individuals and families enter the middle class,” said President of LaGuardia Community College Dr. Gail O. Mellow. “We are thrilled to join Mayor Bloomberg and CUNY in pioneering new ideas and in partnering with us to make the CUNY Fatherhood Academy at LaGuardia a success. Through this program, young fathers will gain skills, become better parents and have new doors open for them.”

“Mayor Bloomberg’s innovative thinking and powerful leadership are making it possible for New York City to be an example for cities across the country on how to effectively serve whole families,” said President of the National Fatherhood Initiative Roland C. Warren. “Too often, dads have been left out of the equation, but Mayor Bloomberg is ensuring that the city’s agencies will serve them, which will lead to stronger families and a stronger New York.”

“I want to congratulate today’s CUNY Fatherhood Academy graduates who have taken personal responsibility for their education, employment and children,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar. “HRA’s Office of Child Support Enforcement is pleased to partner with CUNY with the goal of helping young dads prepare themselves for fatherhood, and to be a consistent part of their children’s lives, both financially and emotionally. I also want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his leadership and investment in young men’s lives that will significantly help them and their families succeed.”

“We are pleased to partner with the NYC Young Men’s Initiative and LaGuardia Community College to offer this unique program that is designed to help young fathers reclaim the future for themselves and their children by pursuing higher education,” said Deborah Douglass, Executive Director of Education and Training Opportunity Programs at CUNY. “We congratulate these young men on successfully completing this first step and will continue to support them in achieving their academic and career goals.” 

“CUNY’s POISED for Success program continues to provide services to mothers but now, for the first time, the CUNY Fatherhood Academy at LaGuardia Community College is preparing fathers to become participants in our City’s growth and continued recovery while becoming role models for their children and other young men in their communities,” said City-Wide Fatherhood Services Coordinator Alan S. Farrell.

Fathers participating in the CUNY program aim to: Initiate or increase engagement with their children; prepare to sit for the GED exam or to apply to college; participate in pre-employment workshops to improve their soft skills and qualify for part-time entry-level or better employment; develop an individualized plan to help them achieve the education and/or training they need to achieve their long-term employment and career goals. Additionally, they are provided opportunities to improve computer and academic literacy with the goal of advancing least one step along the academic continuum and develop personally through a series of group activities that will address men’s health, self -motivation, conflict resolution, and financial literacy.

Eighteen-24 year old men who have not earned their high school diploma and have been involved with the criminal justice system may find few prospects for sustainable employment that allow them to care for themselves and their families. For these reasons, it can be challenging to convince these young men to invest the time to pursue and attain the skills needed to achieve educational and professional success. Program participants were therefore actively recruited from communities around the City through a variety of means including the Fatherhood Initiative Working Group and social media outlets.

Outreach efforts included flyer distribution at high volume subway stations as well as Family Courts, large shopping centers, restaurants/eateries and barbershops in Queens and Brooklyn. NYCHA’s Department of Communications facilitated the posting of recruitment flyers in all developments in Queens and Staten Island. NYCHA’s Boro Directors and Property Managers also ensured flyers were distributed to residents. Where applicable, Borough President’s Offices and City Council Members also posted flyers in their offices and included recruitment announcements in their newsletters.

About the Young Men’s Initiative

Announced in August 2011, the Young Men’s Initiative is the nation’s most comprehensive effort to tackle the broad disparities slowing the advancement of black and Latino young men. Through broad policy changes and agency reforms, a public-private partnership will invest in programs that will connect young men to educational, employment, and mentoring opportunities across more than a dozen city agencies. The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), established in 2006 by Mayor Bloomberg to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City, is responsible for overseeing implementation and evaluation for many of the programs within the Young Men’s Initiative. Support for the Initiative is being provided by Open Society Foundations and Bloomberg Philanthropies through grants to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and The Fund for Public Schools.


Marc La Vorgna/Samantha Levine   (212) 788-2958


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