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February 2016 Grants Newsletter

FOCUS ON EDUCATION | From Preschool to Technical School 

Thanks to our donors’ bequests, foster care children are catching up to classmates and New York is discussing reforms for vocational and technical education. 

STORY TIME: Siblings served by JCCA read together. Photo by Eduardo Patino

JOBS: An instructor at a youth employment program

“We need to make sure what students are learning isn’t obsolete by the time they graduate.”— Patricia Jenny, vice president of grants, The Trust  

Keeping the Faith, Helping Kids 

Donors of all religions turn to The Trust to address problems and honor their faiths. In their wills, Helen and Alfred Meyer mentioned Jewish groups caring for orphans. Mabel Weir wanted to help Protestant agencies serving infants. New York’s nonprofits assist people from all backgrounds, and we think these donors would feel proud of their legacies.

Kids in foster care often change schools and miss class time; they lag behind peers and are more likely to drop out. Jewish Child Care Association of New York (now known as JCCA) will use our $93,000 grant from the Meyer Fund to help these children with reading, writing, and self-discipline. At the same time, the agency will teach caregivers how to encourage these skills at home. 

We’re also giving $100,000, partly from the Weir Fund, to Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies to gather data in a way that helps policymakers and community groups improve well-being in several areas, including health, housing, social welfare, education, and transportation. Building on the data collected by City agencies, the Federation will work with nonprofits, and community, business, and labor leaders to create “social indicators”— figures useful for showing needs, setting goals, then measuring progress.  

Enhancing New York’s Hands-On Classrooms

New York State has a career and technical education system that trains a million people a year for jobs in health care, technology, and manufacturing. But at a time when employers want applicants with the right skills, this system is flawed. 

For instance, rules bar industry experts from working in the classroom, unless they have certain certifications. Another rule caps the state’s contribution to a teacher’s pay at $30,000 a year, so districts have to figure out how to pay the rest. These schools have trouble hiring skilled teachers with up-to-date training. 

At The Trust, we’re working with our Westchester and Long Island divisions to determine how vocational-education programs can better prepare students with disabilities and those learning English for tomorrow’s careers. These are the students who have difficulty getting in—and staying in—career technical programs, yet they can be a vital part of the future workforce. Good jobs await many graduates. To help New York State improve this career pipeline, we’ve given $100,000 each to New York City Partnership Foundation and Advocates for Children of New York

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