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As cities across New York recuperate in the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the City of New Rochelle is primed to create and support a well-trained and educated workforce. From 2021 to 2022, Westchester County reported a 1.6% decrease in the unemployment rate, offering hope for prospective employees and community members alike. At the center of this improvement lies innovative social programs that aim to train and equip workers for well-paying jobs.
For the second time, the City partnered with Pathways to Apprenticeship, Inc. (P2A) and Westhab, on a pre-apprenticeship program. This comprehensive program funded by the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency (NRIDA), was designed to connect under-employed residents of New Rochelle with a construction union apprenticeship program in New York City and Westchester County to offer a pathway to steady, family-sustaining employment.
P2A trains and prepares individuals to move into union apprenticeships where they will be sent out to work and receive free training in an “earn - while - learn” model. Additionally, P2A mentors individuals from low-income communities—including the formerly incarcerated, individuals on public assistance, and residents living in public housing—to succeed in the intensive five-week all-day training program. This program offers a pathway to family-sustaining, middle-class careers for graduates. P2A, working with the Westchester and Putnam County Building Trades, serves as a link between community organizations that assist low-income communities and the building trades industry.
This year’s class of 12 New Rochelle residents graduated on August 12th, with five participants hired for employment with local unions even before their graduation ceremony. The search for employment for the remaining graduates is sure to be a success as the participants are primed to work after their apprenticeships.
Program supporters include the New Rochelle Alliance for Justice, Westchester Putnam Building and Construction Trades, United Community Center of Westchester, New Rochelle’s master developer RXR, and WestCOP.
In 2017, the City selected Westhab to operate the First Source Referral Center (FSRC) to ensure that residents of the City obtain the training and opportunities created by the unprecedented downtown revitalization. The First Source Referral Center provides free job training and job placement assistance to all New Rochelle residents seeking employment. Since the program’s inception, 1,437 New Rochelle residents have obtained employment. FSRC worked closely with the New Rochelle Alliance for Justice and P2A on a grass roots recruitment effort for the program and will provide ongoing support for all the graduates.
Since its founding in 2013, P2A has trained and placed hundreds of individuals in union apprenticeship programs. Graduates have gone on to become full journey workers, shop stewards, and leaders in their unions and in their communities. This incredible success will continue with next year’s program through funding from NRIDA.
For more information about the program as well as photos of this year’s graduates, click here.
“New Rochelle is committed to investing in our residents,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “When we provide workers with training, skills, and opportunities, all of us benefit. Thanks to the hard work of the students and mentors at Pathways to Apprenticeship, our community is primed for sustainable, equitable growth.”
“As New Rochelle continues to grow and expand, we are proud to support hardworking and dedicated tradespeople as they enter into the workforce,” said City Manager Charles B. Strome III.
“P2A was proud to work with the New Rochelle Alliance for Justice & our community partners, our union partners with the Westchester Building Trades, the City of New Rochelle & Westhab to bring real career opportunities to the community,” said Pathways to Apprenticeship President, Mike Hellstrom. “When cities like New Rochelle invest in union construction & responsible development, more residents will benefit.”
“My experience with the Pathways to Apprenticeship program has inspired me,” said recent graduate Jeffrey Marin. “My instructors were incredibly helpful, forming a true brotherhood and offering me hope. Thanks to this program and the relationships I’ve made while learning, I feel truly prepared to enter into the workforce.”
About the City of New Rochelle:
With its unparalleled location, superb quality of life, diverse and talented residents and a focused business climate, New Rochelle is experiencing the transformation of a generation. The City’s current economic development plan will provide a spark for the entire Hudson Valley region, positioning the city as “open for business” and embracing smart, transit-oriented development growth patterns that promotes open space, its close proximity to New York City and opportunities for businesses to rebound, recover and succeed in the current economic climate. Accelerated by a new, fast-track zoning process along with resources for small businesses and micro-enterprises, the ongoing Master Development initiative will continue to enhance the downtown area by supporting job creation, property values and private investment – while enhancing sustainability and livability through green and energy-efficient design. For more information on why New Rochelle is ideally yours, please visit https://www.ideallynewrochelle.com.
About the New Rochelle IDA:
The New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is a public entity whose mission is to provide financial assistance through tax incentives to eligible projects in order to promote economic vitality and prosperity as well as recreational opportunities for the entire New Rochelle community. Commenced six years ago, the City’s bold redevelopment initiative – spearheaded by the Department of Development in conjunction with the New Rochelle IDA – has already helped attract $2.2 billion in private investment that has approved 9.2 million square feet of space downtown. The sweeping re-envisioning of the downtown area has also generated 3,600 new units of mixed-income housing, new jobs for local residents, and large numbers of contracting opportunities for area businesses and enhanced arts and cultural programming.
Yonkers-based Westhab, Inc. is Westchester's largest provider of housing and services for the homeless and its largest nonprofit developer of affordable and supportive housing. Since Westhab's founding in 1981, they have built 912 affordable housing units, moved 8,157 households from homelessness into affordable housing, placed 6,207 people into employment, and delivered services to over 10,000 homeless and at-risk youth. Visit the First Source Referral Center at 247 North Avenue in New Rochelle or https://www.westhab.org/first-source/.
About Pathways to Apprenticeship:
Pathways to Apprenticeship (“P2A”) is a Direct Entry pre-apprenticeship program which recruits, trains, and mentors people from low-income communities for placement and success in union construction apprenticeship programs in New York City and Westchester County. Our primary focus is on serving justice involved individuals and people who live in public housing. We have seen first-hand how careers in the building trades lead to solid middle-class careers with security and benefits and can help lift families and communities out of poverty. For more information, visit https://p2atrades.org/