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New York State Announces $1 Million to Train Low-Income Capital Region Residents in Cutting-Edge Fields

Albany, NY (July 23, 2009) - Can't See the video? Click Here to Get Adobe Flash Player. At a press conference at the Albany Community Action Partnership, the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) today announced $1 million to fund job training and education programs in the Capital District to improve the economic prospects of low-income workers. The Career Pathways initiative, which will provide training at two sites in the Capital Region, is designed to prepare low-income workers for careers in high-demand fields, such as green technology and construction, and health care. The Albany Community Action Partnership was awarded $462,996, and the Albany United Methodist Society, Inc. was awarded $562,132. The funding was part of $12.7 million OTDA and DOL recently awarded to fund Career Pathways programs at 28 sites across the state.

“Advancement in the workforce, and with it economic self-sufficiency, is often difficult for many low-income workers to achieve,” said Kristin Proud, Deputy Director of State Operations, who is overseeing OTDA. “Without additional training and skills development, they have little prospect of advancing to higher-wage jobs and increased economic security. The Career Pathways program is critically important as we work to ensure all New Yorkers have the tools they need to achieve self-sufficiency.”

“Traditionally, New York’s low-income workers are among the first casualties of economic downturns and this recession is no different,” said State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith. “Worker training programs in in-demand occupations, combined with strong supportive services, can lift individuals and their families out of poverty and put them on a path to economic independence. That is the goal of the Career Pathways program, and thanks to this new funding hundreds of lives will be changed for the better.”

“The Career Pathways program will help our residents learn the new skills required for the economy of today and the future,” said Albany County Executive Mike Breslin. “Low-income individuals will develop the skills they need for high-demand jobs, including in green technology and construction, nanotechnology and health care, to achieve self-sufficiency.”

“This is a don’t miss opportunity for low-income folks to really position themselves for success in growing Capital Region industries and create a viable future for themselves and their families,” said Kathy Cloutier, Executive Director of Albany Community Action Partnership (ACA). “ACAP’s Career Pathways program has only been up and running for four months, but many of our participants are already making significant strides; some have even been offered fulltime positions before completion of their 6 to 8 week training period.”

“Albany United Methodist Society looks forward to marshaling our experience of 50 years' service to low-income youth and families on behalf of Career Pathways for a Work Ready Capital Region,” said Peter Fish, Executive Director of Albany United Methodist Society. “Our career exploration program with assessments and training and mentor support is pleased to join the state-wide Career Pathways family in advancing workers’ skills and employment opportunities at such a crucial juncture for our state's economy.”

Individuals eligible for this initiative include public assistance recipients, low-wage workers and people receiving unemployment insurance in households with incomes of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Career Pathways links basic education to occupational training, and when combined with integrated support services, enables participants to advance over time to higher-wage jobs in targeted industry sectors. Such an approach has been found to lead to higher wages and benefits.

In 2008, OTDA and DOL awarded nearly $5 million in funding to 16 organizations to launch Career Pathways programs earlier this year. This new round of grants will bring additional funding to those 16 programs, while providing funding for 12 other organizations to start their own Career Pathways programs.