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.



Partner Profile: Coalition for the Homeless is hard to find housing if you do not have a job, but there are many barriers that prevent homeless New Yorkers from finding work. The Coalition for the Homeless’ First Step program helps homeless women break out of that Catch-22 and get a good job that can be an important step toward permanent housing.
First Step started in 1991 in the basement of a small church and has grown over the years to have a full-time staff serving 150 women per year, having already graduated 1,350 women over the life of the program.
First Step works with women in New York City shelters or low-income housing and helps them build the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workforce. “The self-esteem building is just as critical to the services that we are providing as the resume building,” says Tim Campbell, Deputy Executive Director for Programs. 
“A lot of the women coming in have a nice skill set and work experience, and yet they are not able to find employment,” says Elizabeth Henderson, Director of the First Step Job Training Program. “An individual’s self-esteem can be quite battered when going through homelessness, including what led to becoming homeless – which far too often involves a history of trauma and domestic violence among the women First Step serves.”
The First Step program has three phases across 14 weeks. The first includes Microsoft Office instruction, professional development, skills building workshops, and case management support. Next, students are placed in an eight week internship with a partnering non-profit or company. The final phase is an advanced job search, where participants are given the support to apply and interview for the job that is right for them.
Throughout the process, women also have access to support services to deal with the day-to-day challenges of homelessness. Clients have a case worker, but also receive critical support from each other. Students build bonds with their classmates and become the support network that many lack outside the classroom.
Graduates often take administrative positions in corporate offices or even in the social service agencies where they have been clients in the past. “Our students want to work in those systems to be able to give back,” says Henderson.
As the Coalition for the Homeless looks toward 2016, the organization is hoping to expand its corporate partnerships to offer even more off-site opportunities for students, including additional corporate days and mock interviewing events.
With homelessness at the top of the political agenda, it is an important moment for the Coalition for the Homeless and its First Step program. Through its twin missions of advocacy and direct service, the Coalition is fighting for policy that gives hope to homeless families while creating programs that show what success looks like.



Participant Profile: Valerie Campbell-Spady


Watch the video chronicling one First Step graduate's journey to a good job and renewed confidence.



Success for Health Care Training Initiatives recent years, the Consortium for Worker Education has restructured its health care training programs to meet the ever changing landscape of the health care industry. CWE provides health care training for union members, including members of 1199SEIU and DC37, so that workers can get the accreditations they need to stay in their positions or apply for new opportunities. The training offered by CWE has been particularly important in the wake of major hospital closings involving thousands of layoffs.


Through a partnership with the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center (BLHC), CWE provides surgical technology accreditations, including Accelerated Alternative Delivery (AAD) & Review. CWE is the only organization in New York State approved by the accreditation council to offer the AAD training for surgical technology.


In 2015, 95% of BLHC/CWE participants graduated the program. In total, 85% of students took the certification exam and 74% passed the certification exam.


These results mean that New York’s health care workers are trained in the latest technologies and are able to improve themselves for their families and their patients. Read more about the CWE Health Care Training Initiatives here.