New federally-funded workforce development program targets hard hit communities and aims to strengthen retail, hospitality and healthcare sectors.
Furthering her commitment to strengthen Nassau’s economy and support residents hard hit by the pandemic, County Executive Laura Curran announced a $10 million investment of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for a new workforce development initiative. With this funding opportunity, the County aims to bolster new and existing programs that bridge the gap between those struggling to secure employment or advance their careers and available local jobs and training opportunities. Eligible organizations include higher education institutions, BOCES, building trades, municipal community development agencies and other nonprofit entities. The proposed investment is part of the County’s robust $62.9 million commitment of ARP funding for a slate of economic recovery initiatives.
“With this investment we are accelerating hiring for local employers while building a career pipeline for struggling residents, allowing them to secure quality local job opportunities – in turn, strengthening our economy,” said County Executive Laura Curran. “With many hard-hit residents unable to afford childcare or transportation or even internet access, removing these financial barriers will be key to our effort and getting people back to work.”
“COVID has further increased the gap between available jobs and workers trained to fill them, and these federal dollars will help bridge that gap – and help train workers to learn new skills to advance their careers,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “I fought hard to secure COVID relief dollars for Nassau County and County Executive Curran is putting them to great use by investing in a workforce development initiative that will strengthen the local economy, match workers to jobs, and support residents.”
“I am excited to work with County Executive Laura Curran in this new endeavor addressing Workforce Development that provides the necessary assistance for our great Village,” said Village of Hempstead Mayor Waylyn Hobbs. “The funds from the American Rescue Plan will greatly benefit many of the residents of the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. As Mayor, it is important to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to work. The Workforce Development Program is unique in that it provides not only job training but also job placement. This is also an opportunity that will bring greater service to our community.”
The initiative, announced in the Village of Hempstead, which suffered the highest percentage of store closures in Nassau County, will prioritize programs that reach residents in communities facing higher rates of unemployment. The County will also target efforts that strengthen industries hit hardest by the pandemic including hospitality, retail and healthcare – as well as fields still struggling with staffing shortages, like commercially licensed drivers and paramedics.
A key focus of this funding initiative will be addressing financial and logistical barriers to accessing available employment opportunities – targeting programs that provide scholarships or stipends to help cover unmet costs for childcare, coursework, transportation.
New York Senator Kevin Thomas said, “The Workforce Development Program will not only jump-start Nassau County’s economic recovery – it will help our hardest hit communities build back better and stronger. I thank County Executive Curran for her leadership and look forward to working alongside her to initiate a new era of opportunity for all Nassau County residents.”
“Every day we hear from industry leaders who need trained and qualified staff to fill vital roles,” said Dr. Robert R. Dillon, District Superintendent of Nassau BOCES, which provides career and technical education to thousands of high school students and adults every year. “This grant will be lifechanging for so many people who are unemployed or underemployed and ready to learn a new skills or trade. It will also help to grow the Long Island economy as industries are able to fill necessary positions.”
"At SUNY Nassau, we transform lives. Our students represent our communities and the diverse and multi-faceted society where we live, work, play, and learn. Many of our students work so that they can pursue their education, approximately one third of our students are the first in their family to attend college, and nearly half of our students have experienced food and housing insecurity within the past year,” said Dr. Jermaine Williams President of Nassau Community College. “We look forward to working with the County and the Workforce Education and Resource Center (WERC) to ensure all students leave the College with a solid foundation for success and a credential of economic value that helps them become civically engaged, contributing, and critically thinking members of their communities."
“Workforce development is crucial to the success of our citizens and our economy. At Hofstra, through Continuing Education and our institutes, we work with our friends and neighbors in Hempstead, Uniondale, and the surrounding community to provide education and opportunity,” said Melissa Connelly, Vice President, Hofstra University Relations. “By using this COVID grant funding, and partnering with the county, Hempstead Village, labor and other organizations, we will be able to develop and host more workforce development and career services for the community and help our neighbors and students succeed and advance.”
“This Pre-Apprentice initiative demonstrates the value of the critical 3 tier partnership between, community, government and the skilled construction craft union workers on Long Island,” said Matthew Aracich, President, Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties. “As Hempstead Village looks to recover from the human and economic losses of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry – and the skilled union craft workers that work on industry jobsites– will lead in developing a path to recovery. The model of “Earn While you Learn” is the foundation for success in our Apprentice Programs. Our members are proud of the work they provided to help bring an end to the pandemic and poverty. Here in Nassau County, developers and contractors alike rely heavily on high quality training, skills and support the safety concerns of our members in both building and retrofitting complex facilities.”
“Workforce development programs have the ability to change lives – providing access and opportunity to those most in need. Funding for these programs is key to their success and I thank County Executive Curran for making this important investment that will help strengthen our local economy and help hard hit industries and residents recover from the pandemic,” said John Durso, President Long Island Federation of Labor.
Programs eligible for the funding may include pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs for manufacturing, retail, construction and building trades and other industries; job training and placement programs that prepare, educate and connect residents to promising career pathways – mainly through Nassau’s local colleges and universities, BOCES and other institutional and not-for-profit partners
The County Executive will be filing the proposal with the Nassau County Legislature and urges the members to act quickly to accelerate funding for these programs. Once approved by the Legislature, applications can be submitted on the County’s Boost Nassau portal: www.nassaucountyny.gov/boostnassau
Over the summer, the County opened the Boost Nassau Resource Center, a brick-and-mortar location in Eisenhower Park, and a website, both of which serve as a one-stop-shop for residents, nonprofits, and business to determine eligibility for federal, state, and County programs.
The center’s dedicated staff is available to help those interested apply for available recovery grants, loans and other assistance programs and initiatives. Those in need of assistance are encouraged to visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/boostnassau
or call 516-572-2888.