By Philip Newman
Scores of elected officials, along with labor, African-American, Latino and Asian leaders congregated at City Hall last week to express appreciation and praise for the Bill Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton’s organization lauded New York City’s Jobs to Build On project, calling it a model worthy of replication throughout the nation.
The City Council established Jobs to Build On in 2007 with the goal of attacking long-term unemployment in low-income neighborhoods. Those who join the program are trained by the Consortium for Worker Education.
It is funded by the Council.
“The Jobs to Build On program has been a great initiative which has helped people living in low-income communities across the city,” Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), the deputy majority leader and head of the Queens delegation, told the gathering. “I am pleased that it has finally received the recognition it deserves and hope other municipalities look at what we did here in New York City and start similar programs to help those living in low-income communities.”
Comrie represents southeast Queens, where job training is a high priority and members of the community often scramble to put food on the table.
“With great outreach programs through unions and organizations, thousands of residents have been able to learn new skills in a variety of areas, including information technology, health care and film and TV production,” he continued. “Not only are the retention rates for those placed in these jobs extremely high, but they also earn a higher hourly wage than the state mandates.”
Comrie expressed appreciation to Councilmen Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) and Fernando Cabrera (D-Bronx); members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus; and Vincent Alvarez, president of the New York City Central Labor Council, for their work on Jobs to Build On.
“Six years ago, the Consortium of Workers Education responded to the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus’ call to create a workforce development model and developed the Jobs to Build On program,” said Jackson.
“Now this partnership is responding to the Clinton Global Initiative call and will use Jobs to Build On as a nationwide model for workforce development that can bring real employment opportunities to areas that have the highest population of unemployment,” Jackson said. “It is with great pride that I congratulate Jobs to Build On in this milestone.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 718-260-4536.