To help the local economy rebuild from the effects of the pandemic, The Trust is making grants to improve job prospects for many and to help the region find its economic footing as it recovers.
Making sure that the region’s economy works for everyone has been a longtime priority for The Trust, with a particular focus on making sure more residents are ready for good, available jobs.
Since 2001, The New York Community Trust has distributed nearly $60 million in grants from our New York City Workforce Development Fund, which pools money from several donors and seeks to help low-income workers find jobs in high-growth fields. The fund takes a multifaceted approach, strengthening nonprofits, underwriting research, engaging employers, and providing money for demonstration projects.
Seeing a labor force gap amid the current health crisis, the Fund recently awarded a $100,000 grant to the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds to work with eight community-based nonprofits to enroll people in a training and placement program for certified nursing assistants.
Similarly, the Westchester Community Foundation, one of our two suburban affiliates, has been helping residents find jobs in promising sectors for years, and formed the Westchester Workforce Funders Collaborative in 2019. The Collaborative gave $100,000 grants to Westhab and the Westchester Community College Foundation to partner with local companies to train workers for careers in construction and health care, respectively.
Even before the pandemic, students with disabilities struggled to find and keep good jobs. The Trust renewed a grant of $100,000 to Bridges from School to Work, which connects mentors with high-school students with disabilities as they search for jobs and then, once the students are hired, continues to meet with them and their employers regularly as they acclimate to the rigors of the workplace.
Since 2018, The Trust has provided $240,000 to Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow to help unemployed young people in Brooklyn get health care and technology jobs. The group moved its programs online and continues to teach job-oriented courses on topics such as digital marketing, cloud support, and medical administration. It also will resume a masonry restoration program at Green-Wood Cemetery, and help unemployed alumni find new jobs.
The $1.5 billion building maintenance and restoration industry in New York City employs 20,000 workers, but demand for qualified workers is high. The nonprofit Andromeda Community Initiative was specifically formed by employers to meet their staffing needs, and targets groups that have been traditionally hard to reach, such as formerly incarcerated people and homeless shelter residents. The Trust gave the Long Island City-based nonprofit $80,000 to expand its training programs in person and online.
To guide the city as it steers out of the COVID-related economic downturn, The Trust gave $200,000 to The New School Center for New York City Affairs so it can provide policymakers with clear, current data about the current labor market and public schools during COVID-19.
With earlier support from The Trust, the Center has already found that 85 percent of job losses during the pandemic were in the food, hospitality, retail, and arts sectors, and that 68 percent of those who lost jobs were people of color.
The Center will gather data about the demographics of the unemployed, and workplace health protections, and make recommendations on needed policy reforms. It also will begin offering information targeted to Latinx families with children in public schools, including those with disabilities, about how to access special services for their children. The hope is that the Center’s findings will be included in discussions as the city begins a critical local election that will see the replacement of all citywide elected officials and many City Council members due to term limits.
Expanded outdoor dining has become part of the city’s “new normal” during the pandemic, and the city now aims to make its expansion permanent. To ensure that what began as many restaurants’ makeshift lunge for financial survival is well-designed, The Trust has given a $400,000 grant to the Regional Plan Association to develop guidelines and work with stakeholders.
The Open Streets Ahead Coalition—led by the Regional Plan Association, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, and the Design Trust for Open Space—plans to publish guidelines that will help make outdoor dining spaces safe, appropriate for the locales in which they are placed, and aesthetically pleasing, and minimize their impact on traffic. The Association also will work with business improvement districts, community boards, and restaurant owners to ensure that the guidelines are followed, and it will give some grants in lower-income neighborhoods to help restaurant owners comply.