Residents and businesses in Queens will benefit from broader and more equitable access to job training and development programs under a $350,000 Workforce Development programming commitment announced today by Citizens. The new initiative, launched in partnership with Pursuit, Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation, and Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation, will focus on much-needed technical skills training and career counseling in Queens.
"Citizens is committed to helping New York neighborhoods thrive, and equitable access to skills training is an essential element post-pandemic as businesses seek specialized skills," said Bruce Van Saun, Chairman and CEO, Citizens Financial Group. "We believe that such access is key to the economic viability of communities and neighborhoods, and we are proud to help support this effort in Queens."
The program continues Citizens' longstanding commitment to fostering neighborhood revitalization and economic development. In May, Citizens announced commitments totaling $400,000 to support small business vitality in Chinatown. Citizens also has built a successful track record throughout the communities it serves of connecting community partners with job skill programs to employers looking to hire for specialized roles.
The commitment announced today partners with three Queens-based organizations. More specifically:
- Citizens will provide $250,000 and become the lead funder for Pursuit's Bridge to Technology Program, which will ensure individuals have the baseline technology skills needed to succeed in accelerated tech training programs. Pursuit is a social impact organization that empowers low-income adults throughout Queens and New York City with the training and skills needed to get hired and retain into high-paying software engineering careers. Funding from Citizens will enable Pursuit to move Bridge beyond a pilot program and integrate it into its cycle of recruitment.
- The bank will also commit $50,000 to fund Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation's telecommunications workforce development program, which trains residents 18-24 years old to plan networks, lay cabling, and service the network via their Cisco certification program. The networks they are building will also provide free Wi-Fi access to neighborhood residents, addressing significant digital divide issues that widened during the pandemic.
- Finally, Citizens will provide $50,000 in funding to Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation to allow the recruitment and enrollment of 30 community members into a work readiness training program that will assist in defining a career path, rebranding skills through resume revisions, industry-related job search techniques, and interviewing skills.
"Talent is everywhere, and now more than ever, New Yorkers from all backgrounds need a viable pathway to transformative, long-term economic opportunity, not merely job placement," said Pursuit Co-Founder and CEO Jukay Hsu. "This landmark funding from Citizens helps remove socio-economic barriers to accelerated tech training, while empowering individuals throughout Queens with the skills and technology to transform their futures. Together, we can deepen our engagement in local communities and build meaningful relationships that create lasting impact."
"As we all continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, we are rapidly evolving into a workplace environment much more reliant on technology-based training and services. This is a new workforce ecosystem for our students; for RDRC, we are not only re-imagining how we deliver services, but what those vocational training and certification programs should include. Citizens' commitment helps our students navigate these uncharted waters and supports our goal to improve the quality of life for all that we serve," stated Kevin Alexander, President & CEO of Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation.
"Since the start of Ocean Bay CDC in 1999, we have a strong track record of connecting individuals to career opportunities in the Rockaways. It is our goal to help individuals obtain their personal and professional goals, not only helping their families but ultimately, the community at large. Even through tough workforce conditions, it is our mission to ensure that our program participants have equitable access to excellent opportunities to create a better life. Citizen's commitment helps that mandate." said Ebony Beaty, Executive Director, Ocean Bay CDC.
About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation's oldest and largest financial institutions, with $192.1 billion in assets as of March 31, 2022. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a full-service customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,300 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. More information is available at www.citizensbank.com or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Based in Queens, Pursuit is a social impact organization whose mission is to create transformation where it's needed most. Each year, their work builds pathways to lucrative, long-term tech careers for hundreds of adults with the most need and potential. Pursuit's Fellows are 100% low-income, 70% Black or Hispanic, 40% first-generation immigrants, 50% women, trans, or non-binary, and 60% do not have a Bachelor's Degree. On average, Pursuit Fellows increase their annual income from $18,000 to nearly $90,000, and work at leading companies, including Citi, Uber, and Amazon. Pursuit Fellows begin their journey with a year of high-quality, intensive, and supportive training, followed by three years of career development once they've been hired. Pursuit also works directly with companies to secure hiring commitments, which results in equitable employment practices, improved workplace culture, and on-the-job support. To ensure Pursuit's training is sustainable and scalable, they have also created the Pursuit Bond, a revolutionary funding mechanism that allows nonprofits a way to tap into both philanthropic capital as well as impact investor funding. By connecting talent with opportunity, Pursuit empowers their Fellows to bring change to their families, tech companies, and communities across the nation. To learn more, visit pursuit.org.
About Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation
Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation was organized in 1978 by a diverse group of community leaders to address the dire social and economic conditions that existed throughout the Rockaways. Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation or RDRC as we know it today was created in 1987 as a result of the consolidation of two smaller agencies that previously served the eastern and western areas of the Rockaways. In 1988, a further expansion of services took place when RDRC merged with a state chartered housing preservation organization and developed Rockaways first peninsula-wide professionally staffed community-based job placement and training program. The outcome of these mergers and program expansions resulted in the creation of Rockaways first peninsula-wide community development organization represented by all major ethnic groups, business and civic leaders.
About Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation
Our mission is to provide opportunities for socio-economic improvement that will create a healthier, safer, more prosperous, better educated and revitalized community. OBCDC has been focused on providing "wrap-around" social services to residents in NYCHA housing since our beginning. Initially, OBCDC functioned as an information and referral organization, identifying critical resources and services in the community and sharing them with the residents living in NYCHA housing. Our efforts to identify local supportive services led us to understand the severe dearth of resources, which constrained the community's revitalization capacity. In addition to providing referrals, we now establish partnerships with social service agencies, strengthening and expanding the resources available to the community. We are also a direct service organization, developing resources that help to revitalize and transform the community - including work with seniors and youth. We continue to increase our services for seniors; including computer training, access to Senior Services and transportation to local doctor's appointments, community services and activities. OBCDC is a certified NYCHA-REES partner: the Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES) gives us direct access to residents who need our services to improve their economic opportunities.
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