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June 23, 2016

Opportunity Academy: Career Readiness Program Supports Minority-Owned, Woman-Owned, and Local Business Enterprises

The first cohort of the Opportunity Academy, an innovative construction administration training program that can lead to employment opportunities with city agencies or small businesses throughout the city, graduated on June 23 at LaGuardia Community College.

Developed in collaboration with the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA), and LaGuardia Community College, the program promotes career readiness by preparing individuals for openings in construction office administration—jobs that require knowledge of processes, compliance laws and regulations about public construction management, procurement, labor, and more.

“When all individuals participate in our economy regardless of their race, gender or ethnicity, the City as a whole flourishes - which is why we strive to be an inclusive City. I applaud the great work DDC, SCA, LaGuardia Community College, and the Opportunity Academy is doing to prepare people for a great career in construction. I also want to thank them for getting us closer to our goal of awarding $16 billion in M/WBE contracts by 2025,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Opportunity Academy is a free program that offers students a stipend during training and internship phases, funded by SCA and DDC. Twenty-nine students graduated from the 10-week program, which began in April 2016, and featured classes led by SCA and DDC construction and procurement professionals. As part of the training, students studied various processes and procedures necessary to conduct business with the SCA and DDC from bidding to project closeout. Next, the 29 graduates will begin 42-week internships with certified minority-owned, woman-owned, and locally based business enterprises (MWLBE) enrolled in SCA’s mentor program, as well as with various SCA and DDC departments. By working directly with these potential employers, Opportunity Academy graduates will have opportunities to gain the job skills that will allow them to compete as industry professionals.

"DDC is a leading agency in awarding contracts to minority- and women-owned firms, with $242 million awarded in contracts last year, and is committed to the Mayor's vision of increasing opportunities for the City's MWBEs community," said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. "We'll continue to identify ways to enhance the abilities of MWBE firms."