Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Robin Hood Foundation today announced new initiatives designed to help veterans find jobs and housing as they transition back to civilian life in New York. Beginning this summer, the City’s Workforce 1 centers will provide priority job placement services for veterans and will open a veteran-specific center in Manhattan to help place more veterans in full and part-time jobs. This initiative is supported by a grant from Robin Hood to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which is dedicated to supporting public-private partnerships and is working with Robin Hood on a range of veteran-specific efforts. The Mayor also announced efforts to enhance the Workforce1 pilot through citywide recruitment and job fairs, initial results from the City’s efforts to place homeless veterans in permanent or transitional housing, and plans to create an online tool to help veterans navigate City services. The announcement took place at Robin Hood’s Veterans Summit on the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. The Mayor was joined at the conference by Co-Chairs of Robin Hood’s Veterans Advisory Board Admiral Michael Mullen, Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman and Steven A. Cohen, Founder of SAC Capital Advisors, L.P. as well as Executive Director of the Robin Hood Foundation David Saltzman, U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Chairman and CEO of the Goldman Sachs Group Lloyd C. Blankfein, Washington State Senator Patty Murray, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, Atlanta Mayor Deke Copenhaver, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Counselor to the Mayor and Mayor Bloomberg’s representative on the Robin Hood Foundation Veterans Advisory Board Anthony Crowell, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Terrence Holliday, Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert Walsh, and Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City President Megan Sheekey.
"As the young men and women of our Armed Services return from combat, it is our duty as a City to work together with the same resolve America’s veterans have shown our nation," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Our partnership with the Robin Hood Foundation is designed to help our City’s veterans build better lives, find jobs and homes, and help our City improve the services they count on. It’s our turn to stand up for those who stood up for our nation and we hope our programs will serve as a model for what other cities can do, as well."
"As our nation’s heroes transition back into civilian life, we will continue to find the most effective ways to ensure they get the housing support, job training, and services they need to succeed," said Veterans Affairs Commissioner Holliday. "Our veterans have sacrificed much for us abroad and we will work to return that debt when they return home."
"Our veterans have served our country, and now it’s our turn to do all that we can to serve them," said Small Business Services Commissioner Walsh. "Workforce1 placed 800 veterans in jobs in 2011, and our new veterans employment initiative and Workforce1 Veterans Career Center will help place even more veterans in jobs."
"Robin Hood is grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York for their visionary leadership and ongoing efforts on behalf of the men and women who have served our country," said David Saltzman, executive director of Robin Hood. "Robin Hood is proud to partner with the city as we work to connect New York’s veterans to badly needed jobs, mental health services, housing and educational support."
"Those who defended our nation must be supported," said Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn "These initiatives show how much the City respects the experience, skill and sacrifice of veterans and its commitment to improving the services these brave men and women deserve."
The Mayor announced that the Department of Small Business Services will open a Workforce1 Career Center in Manhattan dedicated to serving veterans and provide customized services at the 15 career centers around the city, to take advantage of the specific skills veterans have gained while in service. Through these new services the City will increase the number of veterans served by more than 50 percent, to 1,250 by the start of next year.
There are currently more than 8,600 unemployed veterans in New York City. The Workforce1 Veterans Career Center, expected to open this summer, will offer intensive career services to veterans looking for jobs and lead the system’s relationships with veteran-serving organizations and with employers committed to hiring veterans. The dedicated Center will have veterans on staff to provide employment services that address the veteran community in order to connect more individuals to work than ever before. As veterans themselves, Center staff will understand the unique needs of veterans, such as how to position and translate military experience for the civilian workforce.
Veterans will also receive priority career services and training opportunities at the existing 15 Workforce1 Career Centers located throughout all five boroughs. Workforce1 Career Centers attract, prepare, and connect qualified candidates to job opportunities in New York City using a combination of recruitment expertise, industry knowledge, and skill-building services that strengthen candidates’ employment prospects to make strong matches for job candidates and businesses alike. In 2011, the Workforce1 system helped more than 35,000 New Yorkers enter employment, including 800 veterans. Staff at all Workforce1 Career Centers will receive special training on how to better serve veterans’ needs.
To support this work the initiative will engage businesses who have made public commitments to hiring veterans and reach out to new ones, creating a marketing campaign to direct veterans towards these services. City agencies, including the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Small Business Services and the Human Resources Administration, will also build on their efforts to help veterans find employment and hold citywide recruitment and job fairs in partnership with the Office of Veterans Affairs and New York State Department of Labor targeted towards specific sectors that meet the skill sets and career interests of veterans. This summer, NYC Service and the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs will also hold a daylong professional development conference for female veterans in partnership with JP Morgan Chase and other sponsors.
The Mayor also announced the results of the Veterans Outreach and Housing Placement Initiative launched last October by the Department of Homeless Services in partnership with the Bowery Residents’ Committee, Common Ground and Goddard Riverside Community Center. The goal of the project is connect homeless veterans to services and housing. Of 150 veterans engaged, to date, 120 veterans have moved to either permanent or transitional housing and over 80 percent of these individuals have been connected to either VA benefits or other public benefit or entitlement. A total of 200 veterans are expected be placed into housing by October 2012.
Over the coming year Robin Hood will also support a project led by NYC Digital and other City social service agencies to create an online tool to connect veterans to a real-time database of City services including information on housing, health care, career training, legal services, and education offered through 311, NYC Open Data and AccessNYC among other open data. This tool will help create a "one-stop" standardized data portal that will help veterans access the services they need and also help the City to better track progress and outcomes.
Robin Hood is New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, and since 1988 has distributed more than $1.1 billion to groups serving New York’s neediest residents.
Several resources are available to all New Yorkers looking for jobs. Visit www.nyc.gov for a list of Workforce1 Career Center locations throughout the City, and to sign up for the Workforce1 Career Bulletin, a weekly email featuring the latest job openings available through the centers. New Yorkers can also find valuable resources online through the Workforce1 Career Blog, and by following Workforce1 on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.