Dear Friends and Supporters,

For three decades, the Consortium for Worker Education has dedicated itself to the development of New York's workforce. Through partnerships with unions and community organizations, CWE provides education, training, and job placement for tens of thousands of workers every year. Please read on for the latest news from the Consortium for Worker Education.



Women Graduate into "Nontraditional" Careers


Congratulations to the newest graduates of Nontraditional Employment for Women’s Blue Collar Prep program, which prepares women for careers in the building trades. The group celebrated at Nontraditional Employment for Women’s Chelsea training facility.

“It’s rare that in 7 weeks a group of women could form such a tight-knit bond,” says graduate Ivana Sabala. “It wasn’t about competition. We wanted to see each other excel. NEW changed the trajectory of our lives and we will forever be grateful.”



Behind the Scenes at JtBO

CWE's Jobs to Build On staff (left to right): Marlene Mack-Johnson, Leticia Thomas, Jeanette Joseph, Ophelia Stewart, Maria Diaz, and Seretese Smith.


Every day, hundreds of New Yorkers benefit from the Jobs to Build On programs offered at their local community organizations. Behind the scenes, the Consortium for Worker Education’s team of JtBO coordinators and program assistants are working to ensure that each of those programs has the support and oversight they need to serve their clients.
“We are available to the partner organizations 24/7,” says Leticia Thomas, JtBO’s Assistant Director. “Because we monitor the programs so closely, we prevent problems from happening.” coordinators spend their days in the offices of JtBO partner organizations, overseeing finances and programmatic success. If a JtBO partner is not on track to meet its job placement goals, CWE staff help the organization develop a corrective action plan. Financially, CWE requires documentation for every invoice, to ensure that the City-Council-funded program can account for every cent it spends.
Back at the CWE office, JtBO’s program assistants maintain a massive database that tracks every participant as they move from job training, to placement, to verified employment. This gives both the program and the JtBO staff an up-to-the-minute snapshot of where they stand in relation to their goals. Globally, CWE can track which neighborhoods participants live in and how much they earn after completing the program, allowing CWE to create new programs that serve the needs of New York’s unemployed.
But such strict oversight does not create the tension that some might expect. “The partners know we are there to help them,” says program coordinator Seretese Smith. When organizations are on track, “we praise them,” adds program manager Ophelia Stewart. relationship is strengthened by the commitment that staff members make to partner organizations, working with them year after year, learning their strengths, and helping them improve. “It's like we are part of their staff,” says program coordinator Maria Diaz. The JtBO staff connect organizations that are serving similar populations and can learn from each other. They also share success stories that organizations can emulate.
Eight years in, Jobs to Build On has grown to include more community partners in new neighborhoods, and has trained and placed more than 16,000 New Yorkers into good-paying jobs. The capacity of JtBO staff members has developed alongside the organization and they are not done growing.
“We haven’t peaked yet,” says Smith.



Employer Partner: William Hird and Co. Park’s William Hird and Company, Inc. has been serving the fire prevention equipment needs of New York since 1953. The company sells and services fire extinguishers and equipment, installs fire suppression systems, and corrects fire department violations.
William Hird and Company partners with Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow and its Jobs to Build On program to place OBT graduates into clerical positions within the company. The partnership shows how Jobs to Build On is a win-win; the company gets trained, job-ready employees who live close to work, while the community gets quality jobs at a neighborhood employer.
The Brooklyn office has 25 employees, who work in the office, shop, or warehouse. Alice, daughter of company founder William Hird, and Thomas Bury are the current owners.
“For the most part, OBT folks are well-trained,” Thomas Bury said in an interview with CWE. “If we have a situation with a staffer from OBT, we can go back and talk with OBT and they will talk with the employees and help them to meet our expectations.” This ongoing commitment from OBT, reinforcing skills and reminding participants of expectations, gives them the support they need to succeed.
It is clear that OBT and William Hird and Company share the same goal of improving lives through employment.
“This is important,” says Bury. “What’s good is the care that OBT takes in training and trying to mentor young people that may have started out on the wrong path.”