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For immediate release: November 26, 2018
Contact: Press Office
Phone: 518-402-3130

Governor Cuomo Announces $5.5 Million Available for Workforce Development Targeting At-Risk Youth

 $1 Million Will Be Targeted to Long Island to Engage At-Risk Youth and Combat MS-13 Gang Recruitment

$4.5 Million Will Be Targeted to Cities Across the State to Engage Most Vulnerable Youth
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the availability of $5.5 million for qualified not-for-profit and charitable organizations in targeted areas of the state to provide education and employment services to help at-risk youth succeed in life and avoid both victimization by, and involvement with, criminal activity. One million dollars of the funding will be reserved for Nassau and Suffolk Counties, which has been at the epicenter of MS-13 gang violence in New York State. The two-year project will serve vulnerable youth and young adults between the ages of 16 and 24.
"By providing teens and young adults in underserved communities with education and job training programs, we are ensuring they have access to the resources they need to avoid criminal activity and stay on the path to success," Governor Cuomo said. "This critical funding will provide new doorways to otherwise unavailable opportunities for at-risk youth and ensure all young New Yorkers have a chance to thrive."
"We're committed to combatting gang violence, while at the same time investing in programs to support at-risk youth," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This funding will allow non-profits to provide education services and workforce development training to ensure the success of young adults. We're continuing our efforts to crack down on MS-13 gang violence on Long Island, while providing opportunities for young people to make sure they live their best lives."
The Workforce Development Demonstration Project is funded by the New York State Pay for Success Initiative and targets low-income youth who have become disconnected from the traditional institutions of employment and education in their communities. The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) is now seeking applications from not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, charitable foundations or government entities who have demonstrated success in providing alternative programming and services for at-risk youth. Award recipients will provide educational programming, occupational skills training, employment services and leadership development. Funded programs will engage disconnected and at-risk youth in their communities who are in urgent need of pathways to jobs, school, entrepreneurship, and other opportunities that will lead to pro-social behavior, as well as productive livelihoods contributing to their neighborhoods.
Acting OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Young people are looking for opportunities. This initiative provides positive alternatives through job training, job placement and skills development. This program will offer teens and young adults better choices than criminal activity - choices that will enrich them and lift up our communities."
One million dollars of the funding million is being made available for Long Island due to the high rate of unaccompanied minor children in that region who are particularly vulnerable to gang recruitment. The Workforce Development Demonstration Project will make the remaining $4.5 million available to charitable or not-for-profit organizations in the following cities:
·         Albany (Albany County)
·         Syracuse (Onondaga County)
·         Binghamton (Broome County)
·         Newburgh/Middletown (Orange County)
·         Jamestown (Chautauqua County)
·         Troy (Rensselaer County)
·         Poughkeepsie (Dutchess County)
·         Spring Valley (Rockland County)
·         Buffalo (Erie County)
·         Schenectady (Schenectady County)
·         Rochester (Monroe County)
·         Kingston (Ulster County)
·         Niagara Falls (Niagara County)
·         Yonkers/Mt. Vernon (Westchester County)
·         Utica (Oneida County)
The selected applicants will serve teenagers and young adults who are either disconnected from traditional societal institutions, have dropped out of school, are involved in the justice system, are gang-involved or at risk of gang involvement, or are disadvantaged in some other way. The young adult participants will receive post-secondary education, on-site job training, mentoring and counseling services while developing leadership and civic engagement skills.  OCFS expects to announce the awards in January of 2019. The project is anticipated to begin in May of 2019.  This demonstration project will be closely evaluated for successful implementation and, contingent upon its performance, will be expanded in the future to serve additional youth and areas of the state. View the request for proposal here.