Residents and businesses in Queens will benefit from broader and more equitable access to job training and development programs under a $350,000 Workforce Development programming commitment announced today by Citizens. The new initiative, launched in partnership with Pursuit, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation, and Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, will focus on much-needed technical skills training and career counseling in Queens.
“This landmark funding from Citizens helps remove socio-economic barriers to accelerated tech training, while empowering individuals throughout Queens with the skills and technology to transform their futures. Together, we can deepen our engagement in local communities and build meaningful relationships that create lasting impact.”
“Citizens is committed to helping New York neighborhoods thrive, and equitable access to skills training is an essential element post-pandemic as businesses seek specialized skills,” said Bruce Van Saun, Chairman and CEO, Citizens Financial Group. “We believe that such access is key to the economic viability of communities and neighborhoods, and we are proud to help support this effort in Queens.”
The program continues Citizens’ longstanding commitment to fostering neighborhood revitalization and economic development. In May, Citizens announced commitments totaling $400,000 to support small business vitality in Chinatown. Citizens also has built a successful track record throughout the communities it serves of connecting community partners with job skill programs to employers looking to hire for specialized roles.
The commitment announced today partners with three Queens-based organizations. More specifically:
- Citizens will provide $250,000 and become the lead funder for Pursuit’s Bridge to Technology Program, which will ensure individuals have the baseline technology skills needed to succeed in accelerated tech training programs. Pursuit is a social impact organization that empowers low-income adults throughout Queens and New York City with the training and skills needed to get hired and retain into high-paying software engineering careers. Funding from Citizens will enable Pursuit to move Bridge beyond a pilot program and integrate it into its cycle of recruitment.
- The bank will also commit $50,000 to fund Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation’s telecommunications workforce development program, which trains residents 18-24 years old to plan networks, lay cabling, and service the network via their Cisco certification program. The networks they are building will also provide free Wi-Fi access to neighborhood residents, addressing significant digital divide issues that widened during the pandemic.
- Finally, Citizens will provide $50,000 in funding to Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation to allow the recruitment and enrollment of 30 community members into a work readiness training program that will assist in defining a career path, rebranding skills through resume revisions, industry-related job search techniques, and interviewing skills.
“Talent is everywhere, and now more than ever, New Yorkers from all backgrounds need a viable pathway to transformative, long-term economic opportunity, not merely job placement,” said Pursuit Co-Founder and CEO Jukay Hsu. “This landmark funding from Citizens helps remove socio-economic barriers to accelerated tech training, while empowering individuals throughout Queens with the skills and technology to transform their futures. Together, we can deepen our engagement in local communities and build meaningful relationships that create lasting impact.”
“As we all continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, we are rapidly evolving into a workplace environment much more reliant on technology-based training and services. This is a new workforce ecosystem for our students; for RDRC, we are not only re-imagining how we deliver services, but what those vocational training and certification programs should include. Citizens’ commitment helps our students navigate these uncharted waters and supports our goal to improve the quality of life for all that we serve,” stated Kevin Alexander, President & CEO of Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation.
“Since the start of Ocean Bay CDC in 1999, we have a strong track record of connecting individuals to career opportunities in the Rockaways. It is our goal to help individuals obtain their personal and professional goals, not only helping their families but ultimately, the community at large. Even through tough workforce conditions, it is our mission to ensure that our program participants have equitable access to excellent opportunities to create a better life. Citizen’s commitment helps that mandate.” said Ebony Beaty, Executive Director, Ocean Bay CDC.