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LINK: Leveraging Innovations and our Neighborhoods in the Knowledge Economy

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As the nation is going through an education reform to Race to the Top and Educate to Innovate, Mayor Bloomberg of the Big Apple is following suit in developing education programs inline with the national policy in general and meeting the education and employment needs of the New Yorkers in particular.

Besides developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs in the public school system and higher education, Mayor Bloomberg is ensuring that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to succeed in the knowledge economy by building bridges to enable low-income New Yorkers to secure jobs in growing sectors that are critical to New York City's 21st century economy.

Apples (Phoenix and the Norroway's beauty varities)., Digital ID 1107618, New York Public LibraryOn March 25, 2013, Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced the LINK (Leveraging Innovations and our Neighborhoods in the Knowledge Economy) Initiative, eight new programs designed to connect low-income New Yorkers with opportunities in the city's knowledge economy.

According to Mayor Bloomberg's office that these eight programs are designed to strengthen the skills and employability of low income New Yorkers and to foster business activity that provides employment opportunities for those with less formal training, helping to alleviate key challenges that prevent many from moving up the economic ladder.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation is working with partners, including Human Resources Administration, the Center for Economic Opportunity and Small Business Services in implementing pilots of eight initiatives which serve to better connect the city's low-income residents with emerging opportunities.

LEAP, The "Learn as you Earn" Advancement Program: Seeks to increase the employability of Associate's degree and Certificate program candidates in the knowledge economy through paid work experience combined with workplace-relevant classroom learning. The program will focus on in-demand occupations and will seek to improve graduation/completion rates at community colleges. For example: A student working on their Certificate or Associate's degree in healthcare IT at CUNY's New York City College of Technology would get a paid internship (by the employer) at a technology company or financial services firm rather than working in a field unrelated to their area of study.

Immigrant Bridge Program: A program to increase the earnings potential of unemployed or underemployed, foreign-trained immigrants with advanced degrees and in-demand skills (e.g., accounting, engineering, medicine), by helping them create individualized career plans, providing them with soft skills training, and assisting with the job search process. Participants also have access to a microloan opportunity to receive $1,000–$10,000 loans for educational and/or general personal expenses incurred while pursuing a higher-paid, technical job. For example: A doctor with a degree from the Dominican Republic working in a service job would be able to complete the program and be employed as a medical researcher or radiologist, potentially earning $15,000 to $30,000 more per year.

DigitalWork NYC: Targets young adults ages 16-26 who are neither in school nor working to increase awareness of online work opportunities that allow participants to earn money completing digital tasks (e.g., transcription, image tagging, etc.), build an employment history, and create a pathway to digital employment. For example: A young adult currently not attending school or working could complete the program and develop a resume demonstrating proficiency in Microsoft Office as well as work history in the field. This now makes it more likely that the individual will find a job or internship in the technology field.

Jobs and Economic Mobility Track in NYC BigApps: Aims to create innovative "apps" to improve the lives of disadvantaged New Yorkers via technology platforms. The program will initially focus on the development of mobile applications relating to workforce opportunities (e.g., job listings) and worker support services (e.g., childcare, healthcare, transit, etc.).For example: This program will create apps that could assist a young adult looking to work in hospitality find a job in the field within a 30-minute subway ride. The program could also lead to an app that would find accommodating daycare facilities for parents looking to begin working.

NYC Business Innovation Challenge: A five-borough, dual-round competition that challenges businesses, service-providers and community groups to unlock the potential in NYC's workforce and neighborhoods by incentivizing businesses to invest in their employees. For example: A business could submit an idea to train their workers or provide ESL courses to help the workers become managers.

Vacant Lot Activation Program: Will put long-term vacant city-owned land to productive use through a variety of alternative and temporary uses. The pilot will focus on an area in Brownsville and East New York. For example: A long vacant lot in East New York could house a pop-up store in the fall, which would bring jobs to the neighborhood and help a retailer test a new market.

PROGRESS Networks: Develops consortia of small- to medium-sized business enterprises to leverage economies of scale so as to lower the cost of doing business or investing in workers. Lower costs and/or higher revenues will allow firms to provide enhanced worker benefits and services and hire more workers. For example: A Chamber of Commerce or BID could bring its members together and create a purchasing network where they can pool their buying power. These entities could purchase training for their employees or goods and services at a lower cost, thereby investing in their workers, and improving their bottom line by investing those savings into their business, leading to future growth and the hiring of more workers.

LIFT Entrepreneurship: Supports low-income entrepreneurs as they start and grow businesses by providing business incubator space, technical support, access to loans, and partnerships with local anchor institutions. The first of two LIFT sites will be located in the Norwood/Fordham area in the Bronx. For example: the program will work with local residents in the Bronx to expand their existing businesses or help individuals with business plans designed to assist these local businesses.

The above information is an announcement from the Mayor's office. Please stay tuned for further development of these programs.

For more information on free job training, please visit Job Search Central at 188 Madison Avenue and 34th Street.

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