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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 25, 2008


MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SPEAKER QUINN OPEN NEWLY-RENOVATED WORKFORCE1 CAREER CENTER AND NYC BUSINESS SOLUTIONS CENTER IN JAMAICA, QUEENS

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn today opened the newly-renovated Workforce1 Career Center and NYC Business Solutions Center at 168-25 Jamaica Avenue in Queens.  Located in all five boroughs, the Centers help New Yorkers prepare for and find jobs and provide local businesses with assistance hiring employees. The renovated Center in Jamaica offers additional training and recruitment rooms and computer stations and a revamped communications system. Since the City’s Department of Employment merged with the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) in 2003, the agency has increased the number of job placements from 500 per year to more than 16,000 per year. The Mayor and Speaker were joined at the opening by SBS Commissioner Robert Walsh, Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, State Senator Malcolm Smith and Council members Leroy Comrie, Jr., and Tom White, Jr. 

“Since aligning our workforce training and small business services in 2003, we’ve placed New Yorkers in 50,000 jobs and helped thousands of local businesses become more competitive by providing them with hiring assistance,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our Workforce1 Career Center and NYC Business Solutions Center in Jamaica achieved a record number of job placements last year, and after the expansion it will be positioned to serve even more New Yorkers. Together with our Jamaica Plan, designed to spur the development of three million square feet of new office, retail and hotel space and create 9,500 jobs, the expanded Center will help put local residents to work.” 

“A well-trained work force is a crucial aspect of New York’s long-term vitality. There are great strides being made on meaningful pathways of effective job placement at the Workforce1 Career Center and NYC Business Solutions Center,” said Speaker Quinn. “Since 2003, they have found thousands of New Yorkers jobs not by taking a uniform approach to every community, but by recognizing that each community has its own unique needs and tailoring their programs accordingly.” 

The $1.5 million expansion, paid for with federal Workforce Investment Act funds, increases the Center’s training and recruitment rooms from three to seven, adds space to the two computer training rooms, and increases the number of computer stations for customer use from 20 to about 60. The number of job placements secured through the Jamaica Center has risen from an average of 236 per quarter in 2004, to a record 905 last year. In the first quarter of 2008, 931 job placements were secured. The unemployment rate in Queens has decreased from 6.9% in 2003 to 4.2% today.  There are currently 233 certified Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in Queens, a 45 percent increase from this time last year. 

The Department of Small Business Services has partnered with the New York State Department of Labor and the City University of New York to create six Workforce1 Career Centers. The Centers offer free services to help New York City residents find and prepare for employment, such as job search resource rooms; personalized career counseling; advice on how to interview for a job; assistance creating resumes and cover letters; job placement services; help preparing for a job; career workshops; GED and ESL classes; and vouchers for job training. NYC Business Solutions Centers help entrepreneurs and small businesses open, operate and expand by providing free services including assistance accessing financing, hiring and training employees and navigating government, and general business education and business planning assistance. 

“By focusing on customer service, creating a professional environment, selecting outstanding partners and holding them accountable, we have created value for businesses and are placing more New Yorkers in jobs than ever before,” said SBS Commissioner Walsh. “This renovated Workforce1 Career Center and NYC Business Solutions Center give us the infrastructure to help local businesses find the employees they need and help New Yorkers access quality assistance identifying and preparing for jobs in high growth industries.” 

“I am extremely proud of the work that Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Walsh and the Department of Small Business Services have done with the Queens Workforce1 center,” said Council member Comrie. “I applaud the efforts being made to ensure that we are servicing the employment needs of the residents of Queens.” 

The growth in job placements at the Workforce1 Career Centers has come as a result of the agency's strengthening of the connection between employers and jobseekers. The City's NYC Business Solutions Centers across all five boroughs work with local businesses to identify their hiring needs, while co-located Workforce1 Career Centers identify jobseekers with matching skills, while also providing training to help New Yorkers meet the needs of particular positions. 

To achieve higher rates of job placement, SBS has also created quarterly goals and reviews for its partners; implemented incentives for the sharing of information between career centers; introduced technology to share information about work orders and jobseekers between centers; and instituted programs whereby partners evaluate and share best practices with each other. The model created by SBS has been studied by delegations from Boston, Chicago, Denmark, London, the Netherlands and the World Bank.



  Contact:
Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
Kara Alaimo (SBS) (212) 513-6318
 

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