NYC Parks To Launch Pilot Work Study Program for At-Risk Young People–Mayor Invests Nearly $1M

NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff today announced the launch of a new work study program. Green Applied Projects for Parks x Pathways to Graduation (GAPP x P2G) will serve 36 at-risk individuals, who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic academically and may have been justice system involved. The work study pilot, funded with $976,389 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will run 40 hours a week, for 26 weeks, for a total earnings of $16,068 and participant transposition costs. Participants will work alongside Parks Department employees on project based initiatives.

“Despite great progress made in our City’s recovery from COVID-19, the impact it’s had on our city’s at-risk individuals has been great. Through our new pilot, we are elevating our workforce development programming by teaching valuable skills through project based learning and creating educational advancement opportunities,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “Through GAPP x P2G we will leverage our expertise to create an environment where every participant has their needs met, receives practical experience and can enter the workforce better prepared for long-term employment success.”

A collaboration with New York City Department of Education, GAPP x P2G is a work study employment pilot for New Yorkers 18-30 years old who have been disengaged from work and school, and involved in the justice system. The GAPP x P2G program fosters career readiness and skill building through practical application: Students will tackle a complete project from start to finish, for instance, building, blazing, and landscaping a trail. Working with DOE, the program also allows for all related services to be housed on site at the same physical Parks work study location—making it easier for participants as they will work and attend high school equivalency classes in the same location, on the same day. Finally, by focusing on cooperative, group-centered work, GAPP x P2G aims to help participants build a strong peer network to support them in school and on up through their careers.

“It is our responsibility to provide continued support and opportunities for learning to all New Yorkers, especially those whose academics were impeded by the pandemic,” said DOE Chancellor Meisha Porter. “In order to empower our young adults, we must foster their careers and provide them with meaningful work experience. We are thrilled by the partnership of our Pathways 2 Graduation program and Green Applied Projects for Parks to help our young adults build community, strong professional-networks, and work preparedness skills while supporting them on their path to higher education.”

“GAPP x P2G will be transformative on several levels—from a unique experience for participants to further their education and collaborate with peers and ?professionals, to the communities who will benefit from the site-specific projects implemented in NYC Parks,” said Lorraine Grillo, Senior Advisor for Recovery and incoming First Deputy Mayor. “Ultimately, the program will help 36 individuals turn a new page in their lives—and when New Yorkers are given opportunities to succeed, our City thrives.”

“GAPP x P2G is a groundbreaking career preparation program that will enable young adults to simultaneously earn a High School Equivalency and participate in a paid work experience,” said Chris Neale, Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development. “We are excited to fund this innovative program as part of the City Cleanup Corps and to partner with Parks, the NYC Department of Education, the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Mayor’s Office of Youth Employment on this important initiative.”

“Participants in GAPP x P2G will engage with the two most important components for career readiness: educational attainment, and meaningful paid work experience,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Youth Employment. “This convergence of two proven programs—Green Applied Projects for Parks x Pathways 2 Graduation—epitomizes a new approach to supporting our young adults, in which learning and working complement each other.”

“Congratulations to the Parks Department on the launch of “GAPP x P2G” and for the creative way that the new program integrates work and educational services,” said Matthew Klein, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “This initiative shows the tangible ways that New Yorkers can benefit from more holistic services when agencies collaborate.”

“The new Green Applied Projects for Parks x Pathways to Graduation work-study program is an incredible opportunity to level the playing field for at-risk New Yorkers who have been traditionally excluded from similar workforce readiness opportunities,” said Jose Ortiz Jr., CEO of the New York City Employment & Training Coalition. “Through thoughtful collaboration that combines critical elements of strong and successful workforce programs into one — wage subsidies that support work based learning, foundational skills development, tangible work experience and a peer network — work study employment pilots foster career readiness and skill building to create the exact talent pipeline needed for a more inclusive and equitable New York City workforce.”

The pilot will run from January to June 2022 and will be administered by Parks and DOE staff. The 36 GAPP x P2G participants were identified through their profiles on the City’s Working NYC site—working.nyc.gov.

About Green Applied Projects for Parks
Instituted at NYC Parks in 2012, Green Applied Projects for Parks (GAPP) has successfully provided more than 500 New Yorkers with paid work experience while developing employment readiness skills. Under the agency’s workforce development umbrella, GAPP members have learned all aspects of caretaking and project management for public green spaces; how to think strategically about the impact these spaces have on local communities across the five boroughs. GAPP is part of NYC Parks’ workforce development unit–these types of programs have a long history at the agency dating back to 1994 and in total the various iterations have prepared approximately 100,000 New Yorkers for jobs at NYCHA, in the private sector, and elsewhere.

About Pathways 2 Graduation
Pathways 2 Graduation (P2G) is a free, full-time high school equivalency program run by New York City Department of Education. The program provides students with the preparation and tools needed for a successful future by helping them earn their diploma.

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