New Bridge To Technology pilot program will prepare New Yorkers for advanced technology training programs

New York, NY – January 19, 2021 – Goodwill Industries® of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. (Goodwill NYNJ) has received $1 million from the New York City Council, which includes $150,000 from the New York City Human Resources Administration, and an additional $300,000 from BNY Mellon to launch Bridge to Technology, a bridge pathway pilot, in partnership with Per Scholas 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 advanced technology training programs and obtain on-demand tech jobs.

This Council funded pilot program is the result of years of advocacy for the need for more bridge programming within the workforce development system by Invest in Skills NYC, a collaborative of the NYC Employment and Training Coalition, the New York Association for Training and Employment Professionals, and JobsFirstNYC. A Bridge Program is a “pre-apprenticeship” training that connects the specific skills needed to succeed in the advance tech training, thereby expanding the opportunities for tech careers to more New Yorkers. The need and value of investing in bridge programs to create access to job training and economic opportunity were championed within the NYC Council by Council members Mark Treyger, Carlina Rivera, Antonio Reynoso, and Ritchie Torres.

Through Bridge to Technology, Goodwill NYNJ will provide contextualized classroom instruction to help participants improve numeracy, literacy; provide the extras needed: wraparound supports including transportation, clothing vouchers, housing, and financial planning; and retention services to ensure participants have the resources they need to be successful for the duration of their training and in the future. Using their proven Bridge curriculum, Per Scholas will provide overview of tech-related topics including hardware, software virtualization, operating system and troubleshooting, networking, and the internet. The goal is to enroll 100 people to receive training in the Bridge to Technology pilot.

Interested job-seekers seeking to learn detailed information about the program including who qualifies and how to apply, should email BridgeToTech@goodwillny.org

According to “Plugging In: Building NYC’s Tech Education & Training Ecosystem,” a report published by the Center for Urban Future, while there are a large number of technology training and education program offerings in NYC, roughly 90% of these only offer beginner-level skills and lack trainings that help individuals obtain work in the tech sector. Only a fraction of in-depth training programs offer career-oriented training that can bridge into tech careers. As a result of many applicants lacking the basic numeracy and literacy skills required for admission, they are turned away from these programs that are incredibly successful in helping graduates obtain high-paying jobs.

In 2019, Goodwill NYNJ provided job placement, training, on-the-job coaching, and retention services for over 26,000 people who are unemployed or underemployed on their journey to employment, including more than 7,000 people with disabilities. In the same period, Goodwill NYNJ helped 2,000 people get jobs, including nearly 800 individuals with disabilities, outside our stores at hospitals, tech firms, and NYC agencies.

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. At a time when low-income jobs are the most impacted by COVID-19 related job loss, Per Scholas and Goodwill NYNJ are building bridges toward career opportunities in the tech industry for people of color and women - communities typically underrepresented in the IT field.

"I congratulate Goodwill Industries of Greater NY and Northern NJ (Goodwill NYNJ) and Per Scholas on the launch of their Bridge to Technology program," said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. "Through technical training and wrap around services, this pilot program will equip program participants with the knowledge and support that they need to obtain a career in the burgeoning tech sector. I look forward to the impact that this program will have on the lives of participants and economic well-being of communities, especially low-income, communities of color."

“The launch of the Bridge to Technology pilot program marks an important step in Goodwill NYNJ’s and Per Scholas’s efforts to deliver participants of the Human Resources Administration’s Career Services programs the advanced skills training and resources they need to thrive in our city’s growing technology industry,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “Investing in job training is essential for ensuring an equitable road to pandemic recovery. I am proud to have helped secure funding for this valuable program and congratulate all involved in its launch on their success in uplifting the economic futures of our neighbors from predominantly low-income communities of color.”

“The Bridge to Technology pilot program will jumpstart technology training and connect New Yorkers with real-world career skills in a rapidly evolving 21st century workforce. I commend Goodwill NYNJ and Per Scholas for launching this essential educational program and I am proud to have secured Council funding to make this vision a reality to better prepare individuals for meaningful job opportunities in the growing and emerging tech industry,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education.

"The pandemic has only underscored and intensified the fundamental role that technology and digital literacy play in every facet of our lives, and especially work, school and socializing. The pervasive digital divide - both in infrastructure and skills - deeply impacts young adults and individuals with economic barriers looking for jobs in tech and tech-adjacent industries. This must be addressed as part of an inclusive recovery process in order to help underemployed New Yorkers access new economy jobs that are being accelerated by the pandemic,” said Annie Garneva, Vice President of Policy and Special Initiatives at the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. “The Bridge to Technology program is great of a partnership that will move us towards a more equitable workforce. We look forward to working with the City and policymakers to ensure that the COVID-19 recovery prioritizes a more digitally literate and diverse workforce that strengthens our local businesses and economy.”

"On behalf of Invest in Skills NYC and all the New Yorkers we serve, the New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals (NYATEP) is grateful for Council Member’s Carlina Rivera, Antonio Reynoso, and Mark Treyger who championed the Bridges to Better Job’s campaign and acquired the funding needed to launch a program aimed at supporting low income individuals who are on Public Assistance and lack the foundational skills they need to gain better jobs,” said Evelyn Ortiz, NYATEP Deputy Director. “We also thank BNY Mellon for their additional contributions and commitment to skills training. Through the Bridge Pathway Pilot as a workforce system we are partnering together to create equitable access to employment for our most vulnerable New Yorker’s and eliminating barriers that prevent them from obtaining family sustaining wages."

“As our City continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we provide the communities hit hardest by this crisis with the resources and tools needed to build towards a better future,” said HRA Administrator Gary Jenkins. “The Bridge to Technology program is an innovative public-private partnership that will provide low-income New Yorkers with the opportunity to advance their professional development and prepare them for a future in the ever-growing technology sector. We thank all of our partners for making this initiative possible and look forward to continued collaboration to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of background, have access to a sustainable and fruitful career path.”

“BNY Mellon is heavily invested in the educational success of underserved populations, and up-skilling and re-skilling individuals within the company’s footprint,” said Daisey Holmes, Head of Global Impact Citizenship of BNY Mellon. “The targeted funding will provide near-term solutions with long-term benefits for low-income job-seekers which underscores the company’s focus on building the workforce of the future.”

“We’ve seen that IT and cybersecurity jobs across all industries have become the most mission critical in keeping systems up and humming during the recent migration to remote work, but millions lack access to the educational opportunities to take advantage of these career opportunities,” said Plinio Ayala, President and CEO of Per Scholas. “By working with Goodwill NYNJ, we’re able to expand access to our training programs to reach more individuals, which ultimately have had a lasting economic impact on entire communities by providing a connection to career opportunities in the tech sector.”

“COVID-19 has exposed the inequities of the workforce and the need to expand access to careers in the fast-growing tech economy to lift New Yorkers into the middle class,” said Katy Gaul-Stigge, Goodwill NYNJ President and CEO. “Many talented individuals who are interested in the technology sector score below grade level for advanced trainings and end up being rejected. This program can address those specific skills to get New York City talent into our tech sector. We are also grateful for the commitment from the NYC Council and BNY Mellon and for their bold investment in this program to expand and improve the city’s tech education and training programs to close the opportunity gap and create a more diverse, inclusive and equitable tech workforce in NYC.”

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About NYC’s Human Resources Administration:

The New York City Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS) is dedicated to fighting poverty and income inequality by providing New Yorkers in need with essential benefits such as food assistance and emergency rental assistance. As the largest local social services agency in the country, HRA helps over 3 million New Yorkers through the administration of more than 12 major public assistance programs, with more than 14,000 employees and an operating budget of $9.7 billion. View HRA's Guide to Services

About BNY Mellon:

BNY Mellon is a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle. Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment and wealth management and investment

services in 35 countries. As of Sept. 30, 2020, BNY Mellon had $38.6 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, and $2.0 trillion in assets under management. BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available on www.bnymellon.com. Follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon or visit our newsroom at www.bnymellon.com/newsroom for the latest company news.

About Per Scholas:

Per Scholas is a national organization that has been advancing economic mobility for 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 partner with leading employers to build more diverse talent pools, directly connecting our graduates to new career opportunities with leading employers, from Fortune 500 companies to innovative startups. With campuses in 14 cities, Per Scholas has trained more than 12,000 individuals in tech skills, building bridges to careers in technology. To learn more, please visit perscholas.org.

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 27 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 the 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 105 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 www.goodwillnynj.org; follow us on Twitter: @GoodwillNYNJ; and find us on Facebook or Instagram: GoodwillNYNJ.