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NYC Small Business Services
Press Release

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Pilot program will reduce poverty by promoting job retention, career advancement and asset-building among low-income New Yorkers

The New York City Department of Small Business Services today announced the launch of EarnMore, a pilot program of the Mayor's Center for Economic Opportunity designed to promote job retention and advancement in order to increase the salaries and assets of the working poor. The program pairs New Yorkers who have worked steadily for at least six months at wages of $14 per hour or less with job asset and training coaches to create individual career advancement plans, explore training and educational opportunities, build assets by opening savings accounts and repairing credit, and access work supports such as food stamps and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"For the working poor, finding a job is only the first step out of poverty," said Linda Gibbs, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. "Workers must then gain skills and supports to increase their salaries, manage their finances responsibly and balance the needs of their families. Through EarnMore, we are helping New Yorkers build the work experience and assets they need to achieve self-sufficiency."

"Helping New Yorkers build career paths is key to reducing poverty in New York City," said Veronica White, Executive Director of the Center for Economic Opportunity. "Through working with job asset and training coaches, individuals in the EarnMore program will develop both short-term goals to increase their hourly wages and long-term goals to build their skill sets in growing industries where there is a high demand for labor."

"Over the past four years, we have increased the number of New Yorkers we place in jobs at our Workforce1 Career Centers from 127 per quarter to more than 4,300 per quarter," said Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. "But placing New Yorkers in jobs is only the beginning. Through the EarnMore program, we are helping low-income individuals move up the career ladder by building their skills and promoting job retention. As these individuals advance in their careers, we will be able to place other New Yorkers in the entry-level jobs they vacate and begin the cycle again." 

The pilot program is being implemented at the City's Upper Manhattan Workforce1 Career Center, operated by the Department of Small Business Services, New York State Department of Labor and the City University of New York. The City has six Workforce1 Career Centers in all five boroughs, where New Yorkers can access free services to find, prepare for and advance in jobs.  These services include job placement and referral, career counseling, assistance preparing resumes and cover letters, career workshops, GED and ESL classes, vouchers for occupational skills training and computer resource rooms.

EarnMore services were co-designed and will be provided by Seedco, a partner in the City's anti-poverty initiatives and a primary provider of employment preparatory services at the City's Upper Manhattan Workforce1 Career Center.  Seedco focuses on helping low-wage workers advance into higher paying jobs and brings significant experience and expertise to the EarnMore initiative. The EarnMore program builds on aspects of retention and advancement that have been supported by private philanthropic support. The current program including staff, training, and curriculum are supported by the Center for Economic Opportunity.

The initial group of 100 New Yorkers participating in the EarnMore program are Workforce1 Career Center customers and individuals referred to the program by the Gay Men's Health Crisis, Citizens Advice Bureau and Henry Street Settlement. Clients are served on site at both the partner organizations and the Workforce1 Career Center. Individuals who are interested in participating in the program should call 3-1-1 and ask for "EarnMore."

Center for Economic Opportunity

The Center for Economic Opportunity was established by Mayor Bloomberg to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City, and works with City agencies to design and implement evidence-based initiatives aimed at poverty reduction. The CEO manages an Innovation Fund through which it provides City agencies annual funding to implement such initiatives and will oversee a rigorous evaluation of each to determine which are successful in demonstrating results towards reducing poverty and increasing self-sufficiency among New Yorkers.

Kara Alaimo (SBS)
(212) 513-6318

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