August 2015 Newsletter | New York Community Trust
August 8, 2015   |   By Piper Nicole
August 2015 Newsletter

Good Jobs without Degrees: Connecting Workers with Manufacturing Jobs in Brooklyn and Queens

Gone are the days of large manufacturers like Domino Sugar and Pfizer setting up factories in Brooklyn and Queens. Today’s manufacturers are smaller and nimble, making everything from pastries to furniture. They like being in the midst of millions of consumers.

“The talent is here, and so is a big market,” says Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate, the Brooklyn Alliance, which supports local businesses. But small enterprises often have trouble finding and training the right workers. That’s where two of our grants come in. We’re giving $100,000 to the Alliance’s new Workforce Innovation Network to help connect job-seekers with food, beverage, and apparel manufacturers in Brooklyn.

New York’s largest borough also has a big employment gap. Queens Connect, a coalition of four community groups, was organized in 2012 to help teens who lack connections. With guidance from employers, they started the Young Adult Food Sector Employment Project. We’re giving it $100,000 to train young people to get New York State food-handler certificates and internships, plus they’ll get job coaching and tips on managing their money.

Training teens at Queens Connect

TRAINING FOR TEENS: Queens Connect gives career assistance to high school students who struggle in traditional classrooms. The teens above took part in the group’s Learning to Work program, which places them in paid internships. Our grant will help train and certify young people in food manufacturing.

High Schoolers to the Rescue

“I had dreamed about following my two aunts into the medical field. Studying at FDNY High School gave me the chance. After graduating, I was accepted into the FDNY’s EMT training program. We were challenged every day. I took courses that included anatomy, childbirth, and controlling bleeding. I also took driving, fitness boot camp, and leadership classes. I realize we are all powerful beyond measure once we put our minds to it. I accomplished things I never knew I could. Now I am someone who saves lives and helps people in need. There isn’t another job that comes close to doing what we do, and it is an honor to be called a superhero.” —  Reshay Noriega, 20, an EMT in Brooklyn (pictured at left) 

Emergency medical technicians need strong nerves and tough training—but not a college degree. And in the next three years, the FDNY expects to hire at least 1,000 of them. Thanks to our generous donors, we’re investing $100,000 to help the FDNY Foundation expand and improve its EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Academy in Bayside, Queens.

Training EMTS

SKILLS FOR EMTS: New protocols and technology for heart attack victims have led to faster treatment and fewer deaths, but many EMTs and hospital staff still need training to cut the time from 911 call to operating table. Our $122,000 grant to the American Heart Association helps provide this training. Photo by Ari Mintz for The Trust.

Manufacturing Lives Here

Lucrative residential developments are encroaching on areas historically used for producing goods. How can New York preserve manufacturing and the jobs it creates? We’re giving $65,000 to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development to make sure zoning and other policies maintain some areas for industry.

A seamstress appliques fabric letters onto a pillow in Brooklyn.

MADE IN BROOKLYN: A seamstress appliques fabric letters onto a specialty pillow at Alexandra Ferguson LLC, based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

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