The New York City Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Workforce Development Funders Group – a consortium of private foundations – today announced that they were awarded a $450,000 grant from the newly-launched National Fund for Workforce Solutions. The grant will be used over a three-year period to help local organizations launch new programs to train low-wage workers in industries of economic development importance to the City, such as manufacturing, healthcare and transportation.
"By building a demand-driven system that prepares New Yorkers for jobs in high growth industries and sectors where labor is a constraint to growth, we have increased the number of New Yorkers we place in jobs at our Workforce1 Career Centers by more than 3,000 percent since 2003," said Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. "Our selection for this grant is a testament to the strong employment system we have built, and will help us continue our work in conjunction with the Mayor's Center for Economic Opportunity to prepare low income, working New Yorkers for quality jobs and build the qualified labor force that businesses need to locate and grow in New York City."
"Employers are struggling to find well-trained workers to take some jobs, while many low-wage workers lack the skills or training they need to become financially secure," said Patricia Jenny of the New York Community Trust, the lead foundation of the Workforce Development Funders Group. "We have developed a great partnership to address both of these pressing needs in New York City."
The grant is one of ten awarded by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, an organization which will officially launch on September 6. The Fund was created by the Annie E. Casey, Ford and Hitachi Foundations, in tandem with the United States Department of Labor, with a goal to raise $50 million to strengthen and expand effective workforce initiatives around the country.
"The programs and initiatives that this fund supports will help people develop the skills they need to be economically successful, and that's good for American families, for the economy and for the nation as a whole," said Susan Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation. "The fund seeks to nurture these innovations and to build partnerships in the private and public sectors that reach people in need."
The grant was awarded to the Workforce Innovation Fund, a partnership of the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the New York City Workforce Development Funders Group (WDFG), a consortium of 25 private foundations. The local partnership was formed in 2004 to meet the needs of employers searching for qualified workers and to prepare low-wage workers to move into jobs that pay family-supporting wages.