As it gears up for the full arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 campus in Long Island City is the coming years, the de Blasio administration announced Jan. 28 it is offering up to $300,000 in micro-grants to qualified organizations that specialize in workforce development.
The grants will support research and planning into innovative approaches the city could take to promote training and hiring of underrepresented New Yorkers in tech and other in-demand sectors.
“Preparing New Yorkers for the jobs of tomorrow and making sure those jobs are accessible to residents from all backgrounds with different skill sets is critical to leveling the economic playing field,” the New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James Patchett said. “We are excited to partner with the Office of Workforce Development to catalyze innovative workforce training programs that will help ensure New Yorkers are ahead of the game as the city’s tech sector booms.”
Through a request for expressions of interest, known as an RFEI, the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and the NYCEDC will work with community-based organizations with funds to develop effective, innovative programmatic concepts the city and its partners can use to help ensure local talent is prepared to access new hiring tech opportunities.
The grant funds will be used by experienced organizations with a track record of providing job training and placement services to New Yorkers to support research tasks, hiring of new staff to work on plan development, and similar startup costs.
“I am delighted that the city is investing critical resources and funding towards advancing career readiness programs and helping underrepresented communities enter the tech industry,” Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said. “With the addition of Amazon, NYC has further cemented itself as a world tech hub and I am glad to support programs that create tangible benefits for New Yorkers and support their entrance to this lucrative field.”
Organizations are encouraged to respond by making a request for funding. Such requests will be based on the need for funds and for the expected use of funds described in the respective responses.
“Expanded educational programs will help ensure that our city’s residents attain competitive jobs in the tech industry,” Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said. “Of course, more needs to be done but I will continue to advocate for effective adult education programs for the people of our district.”
In November, Amazon announced it was coming to Long Island City and planning to fill 25,000 new jobs over the next 10 years that pay an average salary of $150,000 per year. In December, Google announced it was planning to double its NYC workforce to nearly 14,000 workers by 2022.
“Hiring local talent is a must-have for the Amazon deal, and this RFEI looks to prepare for this massive economic development opportunity by tapping into and maximizing the potential for our diverse workforce,” Councilman Peter Koo said. “Education, skills training and workforce development are all on the table, and now is the time to fully examine how best we can capitalize on the long-term commitment to good and sustainable jobs.”
Councilman Paul Vallone, the chair of the Committee on Economic Development, agreed.
“With HQ2 coming to Long Island City, New Yorkers must be guaranteed that they will have the opportunity to obtain the high paying jobs Amazon will create,” Vallone said. “Targeting youth and workforce development will be critical in ensuring that residents have the skills and the education to succeed in these jobs. I look forward to seeing the results of this RFEI and working with the EDC as we prepare New Yorkers to reap the maximum benefits of Amazon’s move.”