Goodwill Industries® of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. (Goodwill NYNJ) is expanding the services of its Bridge To Tech program launched two years ago to equip individuals enrolled in New York City’s Human Resources Administration city-wide Career Services programs with the necessary skills to qualify for and graduate from a range of advanced technology training providers and obtain in-demand tech jobs. Thanks to $1 million funding from the New York City Council and additional funding from Amazon and Google, Goodwill’s program will now offer a bridge to cybersecurity training in partnership with Per Scholas and a bridge to the Pursuit Fellowship.
Bridge To Tech, a “pre-apprenticeship” training, furthers New York City’s Career Pathway system. It develops a linkage between foundational skills training and advanced training to increase overall alignment within the workforce development system and create more opportunities for deserving New Yorkers to reach middle-income jobs and careers. The training increases each person’s math and literacy skills, as well as an understanding of navigating the tech industry and related careers. In addition, Goodwill NYNJ provides participants with valuable assessment, transition planning, and wrap-around services to alleviate challenges as they persist through training, credentialing and on to their next step.
The current Council advocated to continuing funding for the Goodwill bridge program within the workforce development system that Invest in Skills NYC, have endorsed. In 2022, Council members Brewer, Farias, Restler, and Rivera championed within the NYC Council the need and value of investing in bridge programs to create access to job training and economic opportunity.
Goodwill’s Bridge to Tech program results show that 90% of bridge graduates increase their literacy and numeracy to qualify and join advanced training programs and 55% of year 1 participants who completed advanced trainings are employed. Goodwill expects year 2 participants to achieve credentials and secure employment in higher rates as they gain valuable experience with the advanced training partners. Participants like Nigel a 49-year-old Brooklyn resident who was unemployed, living with his parents, and receiving public assistance before coming to Goodwill. After graduating from the Goodwill Bridge to Tech program, he is now working as an IT technician for a temporary IT agency.
This bridge program will prepare students for advanced training programs such as the Per Scholas cybersecurity training, which offers the opportunity to earn the Cybersecurity Analyst Certification (CySA+). This certification equips learners with fundamental concepts in security specialties and hands-on training to enter this ever-growing field as a cybersecurity analyst. The Pursuit Fellowship provides basic coding skills as they relate to technology and the work of an IT support professional, with a target on software engineering opportunities. It provides on-ramps to career pathways, training, and evidence-based wraparound services to create successful students in full-time tech training. Credentialed graduates will be matched with tech-related jobs at employer partners in all sectors.
“Per Scholas is truly excited to build on our Bridge To Tech partnership with Goodwill NYNJ, expanding to now offer cybersecurity training. We know that the power of working together accelerates the success of the individuals who go through our training programs, helping ensure that they are able to start a career in the In-demand field of cybersecurity, leading to transformational earnings growth and impact on families, as well as across communities,” stated Abe Mendez, Per Scholas New York Managing Director.
Per Scholas’ education model is proven in both the short and long term at successfully training individuals and helping them get placement into stable tech careers. Through rigorous and tuition-free technology training and professional development programs, Per Scholas graduates experience a 300% salary increase on average, which has a transformational impact on our graduates, their families, and communities.
Through comprehensive and rigorous training on full-stack web development, industry readiness, and leadership and professional development, Pursuit has graduated more than 700 Fellows to date, which has resulted in approximately $700 million in incremental lifetime wage gains for low-income workers.
“At Pursuit we are excited to unlock access to opportunities like the Pursuit Fellowship and to pilot our Bridge To Tech partnership with Goodwill NYNJ,” said Pursuit CEO and Co-Founder, Jukay Hsu. “If we want to have deep, long-lasting impact in our local communities, then creating pathways to economically transformative careers for under-resourced individuals is crucial, now more than ever. We believe high-paying technology jobs are an answer to this — and that people need the skills and access to networks that make those jobs possible. We look forward to training and developing local talent in becoming future leaders in tech.”
Individuals interested in learning if they qualify for the program, should contact BridgeToTech@goodwillny.org
The pandemic has changed so much about life in New York City – from the rise of remote work and the embrace of open spaces to the uneven economic recovery and the lasting challenges facing small businesses. Amid all this transformation and disruption, one factor has remained a welcome constant: Technology is where the city’s good jobs are growing. New research from the Center for an Urban Future and Tech:NYC publish on July 2022 reveals that New York’s tech sector has been among the city’s few economic bright spots since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since the start of the pandemic, the city tech sector added jobs at a faster clip than every other major industry. The sector’s recent gains build on years of striking job growth. Since 2010, the city’s tech sector has added 114,000 jobs, growing by 142% – more than seven times faster than the city’s economy overall – and tech roles are driving demand in industries well beyond the tech sector, including health care, finance, education, and advertising.
In 2021, Goodwill NYNJ provided employment services for nearly 10,000 people who are unemployed or underemployed, almost half of them people with disabilities. Also last year, Goodwill NYNJ placed 821 people in industry-sector jobs, including 549 individuals with disabilities, a 17% increase from the previous year, outside its stores at hospitals and health care centers, tech and accounting firms, the warehousing and manufacturing sectors, and NYC agencies.
“The tech field is booming and there is a lot of opportunity in the growing innovation economy, which includes tech start-ups, creative companies, and innovative manufacturing. Goodwill’s Bridge to Tech program provides resources to ensure that there is equity in the industry. I am proud to support a program that is helping level the playing field,” said Council Member District 6 Gale A. Brewer.
“Growing our workforce means growing access to benefits, pay equity, and upward economic mobility for both the City and its residents. But, we can only do this if we create strong pipelines that connect New Yorkers to our fastest growing sectors. I am proud to see that Goodwill Industries is expanding its Bridge To Tech program with the $1 million of funding they secured from the New York City Council. As the Chair of Economic Development and a member of the Budget Negotiation team I am proud to have fought for this funding which will create more opportunities for New Yorkers looking to build a stable and good-paying career. Programs like the Goodwill Bridge to Tech program are how we create access to economic stability, generational wealth, and how we continue our City on a path of equitable economic recovery,” said Council Member District 18 Amanda Farías, Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Economic Development.
“We still have 280,000 jobs that were lost during the pandemic that have not yet come back. We have a higher unemployment rate than anywhere else,” said Council member District 33 Lincoln Restler. “We need good jobs. The solution is to invest in the training, in the skills, in the education that New Yorkers need to thrive and succeed. These great organizations, the members of NYCETC serve 600,000 New Yorkers each year to connect them to good jobs. We can actually support people out of a pathway from poverty. We need to invest in their skills, in their training, in their education. We need to invest in this budget.”
“The best investment the City can make in economic development is an investment in its workers, and bridge programs, like Goodwill’s Bridge to Tech partnership with Per Scholas, do just that by ensuring New Yorkers are prepared for high quality, high paying jobs in innovative sectors like tech and life science,” said Council Member District 2 Carlina Rivera. “Breaking down barriers to employment is essential for an equitable recovery from COVID and addressing inequality in our city. The combination of skill development, technical training, and supportive resources gets participants ready to enter the workforce, and get their foot in the door. I am proud to have secured funding to pilot the Bridge to Tech program with Goodwill Industries, and excited to see its success continue with support from my colleagues in City Council and the advocacy of New York City Employment and Training Coalition.”
“Bridge programs are a vital tool in how New York can better connect job seekers to the training and education they need for well-paying jobs while ensuring employers can pull from a strong, diverse and local talent pipeline,” said Annie Garneva, Interim CEO of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. “All New Yorkers need as much access to vocational support as possible, especially individuals who have been historically disenfranchised or denied family-sustaining career opportunities. We applaud Goodwill NYNJ, Amazon and Google for their commitment and leadership in bridging the divide while getting New York back stronger than ever before. These are the kinds of collaborative and innovative partnerships between employers, training providers and government that are urgently needed to meet market demand for local tech talent and tackle our economy’s stark inequity.”
Google and Goodwill NYNJ have collaborated on different projects for over a decade. Annual collection drives in the early 2000s have turned into permanent collections at Google’s Meat Packing District campus in NYC, which donated 2,000 lbs. of clothing and goods in 2021. In 2018, Google began supporting Goodwill NYNJ’s digital skills programs that support access to technology jobs in all sectors. Google began supporting Bridge to Tech last year.
“To prepare New Yorkers for tech jobs and the future economy, we need to ensure workforce development programs not only provide skills, but support them in all their needs to ensure success. Google is proud to support this transformative program from Goodwill NYNJ,” said Angela Pinsky, Head of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google NYC.
Goodwill NYNJ and Amazon have collaborated on projects that benefit the community, the environment, and provide jobs for New Yorkers. In 2022, Amazon sourced almost 300 candidates from Goodwill NYNJ for open positions across all five boroughs and hired nearly 100 employees. In fall 2021, Amazon supported the training and workforce readiness services at Goodwill’s Jobs-Plus program specifically serving residents of housing developments in the Bronx. In Fall 2022, Amazon will have placed donation bins in 17 Amazon facilities and corporate offices across the New York City metro region.
“At Amazon, we have a job for every New Yorker,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Head of Community Affairs, Amazon New York. “We’re committed to ensuring more people have access to the skills they need to grow their careers. We’re thrilled to see the expansion of Goodwill NYNJ’s Bridge To Tech program and continue support their work connecting our community with opportunity, and preparing them with the foundational skills for the tech jobs of today.”
“After more than a decade of grow, the tech sector is now New York City’s most dependable economic engine and reliable source of new well-paying jobs. The Bridge To Tech program provides training and helps talented New Yorkers who scored below grade level to access advanced tech trainings and jobs,” said Katy Gaul-Stigge, Goodwill NYNJ President and CEO. “At a time when NYC still has 173,000 fewer jobs than it did before the start of the pandemic, the tech sector will be crucial to igniting a long-term post-pandemic jobs recovery. Goodwill NYNJ works together with the public and private sectors to support employment, citywide training services, and job pipelines that connect and empower local workers. We are grateful to NYC’s City Council, Amazon and Google for their donation to help us to provide comprehensive wraparound services and employment supports to ensure the success in the workplace of New Yorkers experiencing barriers.”
“Goodwill works to break through barriers to employment by providing the training and resources New Yorkers need to get jobs and lead independent lives. With that mission, the opportunity to provide skills through our Bridge to Tech program, enabling New Yorkers to take advantage of strong technology training programs and ultimately gain employment in one of the faster growing areas of the economy, is particularly rewarding. We are pleased to be adding Pursuit as a partner and to continue our work with Per Scholas and our network of advance tech training providers. And we are grateful for the New York City Council for their funding, to Amazon for their new support for Bridge to Tech, and for Google’s continuing support for the program,” said Don Huber, Chair of the Goodwill NYNJ Board of Directors.
About Per Scholas:
Per Scholas is a national organization that has been advancing economic mobility for more than 25 years. Through rigorous training, professional development, and robust employer connections, we prepare individuals traditionally underrepresented in technology for high-growth careers in the industry. We collaborate with leading employers to build more diverse talent pools, directly connecting our graduates to new career opportunities at businesses ranging from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups. With campuses in 19 cities, Per Scholas has trained more than 16,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology. To learn more, visit PerScholas.org and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
Based in Queens, Pursuit is a social impact organization whose mission is to create transformation where it’s needed most. Each year, their work builds pathways to lucrative, long- term tech careers for hundreds of adults with the most need and potential. Pursuit’s Fellows are 100% low-income, 70% Black or Hispanic, 40% first-generation immigrants, 50% women, trans, or non-binary, and 60% do not have a Bachelor’s Degree. On average, Pursuit Fellows increase their annual income from $18,000 to nearly $90,000, and work at leading companies, including Citi, Uber, and Amazon. Pursuit Fellows begin their journey with a year of high-quality, intensive, and supportive training, followed by three years of career development once they’ve been hired. Pursuit also works directly with companies to secure hiring commitments, which results in equitable employment practices, improved workplace culture, and on-the-job support. To ensure Pursuit’s training is sustainable and scalable, they have also created the Pursuit Bond, a revolutionary funding mechanism that allows nonprofits a way to tap into both philanthropic capital as well as impact investor funding. By connecting talent with opportunity, Pursuit empowers their Fellows to bring change to their families, tech companies, and communities across the nation. To learn more, visit pursuit.org.
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.
About Goodwill NYNJ:
Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. (Goodwill NYNJ) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates retail stores throughout the region powered by donations of clothing and household items. Goodwill NYNJ translates those donations into workforce development services for people with disabilities and those who are unemployed, and job training leading to employment. Annually, Goodwill NYNJ services build better lives for thousands of New York City Metropolitan Area residents and their families. For over 107 years, the agency’s mission has been to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment to gain independence through the power of work. Learn more about Goodwill NYNJ at http://www.goodwillnynj.org; follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillNYNJ; and find us on Facebook or Instagram: GoodwillNYNJ.