Dear Friends and Supporters,

For nearly ten years, the New York City Council has funded the Consortium for Worker Education's Jobs to Build On (JtBO) and Worker Service Center (WSC) programs. This funding empowers more than 40 community-based organizations to provide workforce training and placement programs for unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers. Through these programs, CWE has placed 15,000 New Yorkers in new careers. Please read on for the latest news from the Consortium for Worker Education.



Good Jobs and Quality Care, in the Bronx


Did you know that the America’s largest worker-owned, cooperative business is right here in the Bronx? For the past three decades, Cooperative Home Care Associates has quietly set the standard for how a business can help solve income inequality while providing premiere services for the community.
Earlier this month, local Council Member Ritchie Torres visited CHCA – a Jobs to Build On partner – to learn how the cooperative operates.
In the 1980s, American healthcare was moving away from institutionalized care and toward keeping elderly and disabled people in their homes. While the change was good for patients, it often relied on undertrained and underpaid workers. CHCA stepped in to offer a different kind of home care company for New York.
New York workers who come to CHCA looking to enter the home care field receive a free, four-week training course. At the end of the course comes not only certification as a home health aide, but a good paying job with CHCA, and the opportunity to become one of its hundreds of worker-owners.
Council Member Torres observed one of the training classes and saw how the cooperative model can transform a worker’s relationship to the job. CHCA doesn’t rely on discipline to mold its employees, like many businesses. Instead, workers are supervised through coaching and mentorship.

"CHCA's innovative worker cooperative model is the perfect example for how businesses can reduce wage inequality, ensure job security, and improve worker and client satisfaction,” Council Member Torres said after the tour. "Worker cooperatives are becoming increasingly relevant in our economy and it is exciting to see CHCA leading the way right here in the Bronx where good paying jobs are needed."
For CHCA president and CEO Michael Elsas, the company’s mission goes well beyond their work in healthcare. “At the end of the year, every worker-owner gets the same dividend,” he says, from a home health aide to the CEO himself.  That revolutionary model has made a successful company and a thriving workforce.




First Job Placements at Queens Library has been just two months, but the Consortium for Worker Education's job training and placement program at the Queens Library has already started placing New Yorkers into new careers.
CWE's local partner, HANAC, is providing vocational training and job placement assistance at the Astoria library branch. Three residents completed the program last week, getting jobs in hospitality and customer service, and several more are following in their footsteps.
“We are helping people get back on their feet,” says HANAC’s Rita Lopez. Some participants have been laid off, while others are seeking work for the first time. HANAC looks for businesses that are growing and that offer opportunities for employees to grow too.
Similar stories are coming from the other three participating library branches, as the inaugural class graduates from the program and is placed into jobs. The second class starts soon, and CWE is looking for opportunities to expand the program into more library branches.