(BROOKLYN, New York): If things go as planned and accordinto
New York State’s Lt. Governor, Kathy Hochul, Brooklyn will get a

$175 million initiative that will boost funding to the workforce
development programs across New York state. Hochul delivered
the good news recently at a Bedford Stuyvesant public forum.
The initiative aims to help improve the pipeline of local talent to
serve the short- and long-term needs of regional businesses in
growth industries. In particular, the plan is to help train workers
for careers in tech and building trades. The city’s Economic
Development Council will allocate most of the local funding in
Brooklyn and throughout the other boroughs.
Hochul joined Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. at Per Scholas — a
twenty-five-year-old workforce development program specializing
in preparing students for careers in tech that graduates a hundred
students each year –  to highlight what state funding has
contributed to in the past. Currently, Per Scholas graduates 100
tuition-free students annually from their Brooklyn campus at a cost
of $8,000 per student.
“I think the model is successful,” said Hochul of Per Scholas that
boasts an 80 placement rate into the workforce. “I think we
already know what works.”
Workforce development groups statewide can apply for grants
through the new website dedicated to the initiative. The program
will also target minority communities, unemployed youth, women,
and individuals with disabilities. “We are absolutely looking to
prioritize funding to communities that have been traditionally
underserved,” said Madhuri Kommareddi, the state’s director of
workforce development.
Historically, these programs benefitted those who did not go to
college or are nor college-bound, but whether it’s changing careers
or getting a late start, they have aided residents looking for new job
opportunities.  Ability to avoid debt was a major driving force for
entering a certificate-based work program, students at Per Schola
said. The certificate program costs $8,000 to complete.

Hochul said the additional funding will meet the growing demand
for job-seekers choosing the 15- to 18-month certificate route,
especially as it relates to tech. “The problem is that we never had
enough money to do more with more people,” said Hochul. “We
only had enough money to take care of 100 a year. Why aren’t we
taking care of 500 a year? There is that much demand.”

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