• Westchester County Association to Administer $9.8 Westchester-Putnam Workforce Federal Grant


  • Grant Provides Training and Support Services for 425 Long-Term Unemployed in the Hudson Valley

  • The Westchester County Association announced today that it has been selected by the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board to serve as project manager of a $9.8 million Federal Ready to Work Partnership grant to provide 425 long-term unemployed individuals with intensive training for jobs in the healthcare sector.

    Funds from the grant, which is allocated through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Ready to Work Partnership, will be used for outreach and recruitment to better connect workers with the kinds of organizations that are looking to hire; to provide training and support services to

    people who are unemployed but require retraining or jobs in high demand in health care; and to further develop strategies to increase the number of middle- and high-skilled job placement.

    Job seekers will receive training for healthcare jobs in high demand, such as: registered nurses, medical coders, radiologic and MRI technicians, physician’s assistants, and others as required by business and healthcare organizations in the region. In the Hudson Valley, there are an estimated 13,000 long-term unemployed, defined as those who have been unemployed for more than six months and exhausted their unemployment benefits during the past two years.

    This regional training program is led by Westchester County and serves to connect workers with open positions in seven counties in the Hudson Valley: Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan. The Westchester County Association was awarded the role of Project Manager because of its extensive experience managing and executing multi-partner, multi-year projects simultaneously.

    Working to Develop the Best Workplace Talent in the Region
    “Assuming the project management role of the Jobs Waiting grant is a key component of the WCA’s multi-faceted program to help develop the best possible workplace talent in our region,” says Amy Allen, Vice President and Executive Director, Hudson Valley Workforce Academy, Westchester County Association. “The WCA Hudson Valley Workforce Academy, launched in January, addresses the critical need for skilled workers to help fill the 2,500+ jobs presently open in the healthcare, technology, and business sectors here.”

    She pointed out that the Academy, in cooperation with members of the WCA’s integrated healthcare consortium and Higher Education Committee, “helps our region attract and retain talent, upgrade the skills of the currently employed, and foster job creation for the unemployed and underemployed as it has built trust and continues to strengthen relationships with the healthcare community with emphasis on collaborative problem-solving with the higher education and business communities in our region. Our role in the region is to drive economic vitality and development in Westchester and the region. We bring different groups to the table and figure out how to get things done, effectively and strategically. These are the attributes needed to manage a project of this importance and scope.”

    Danielle DeMatteis, who will spearhead the WCA’s project management of the “Jobs Waiting Program,” said that retraining and support services are crucial in order to hone the skills needed to get people back into the workforce. She said the program will teach soft skills, such as the interpersonal skills needed in the workplace, as well as the hard skills such as technology and direct service delivery. “Our main goal is to determine the needs of the end user, the employer, to identify hard to fill positions, the training that is needed and the skills gaps that exist.”

    She explains that the Jobs Waiting Program is available to those who have been unemployed for more than six months, are interested in healthcare jobs, have completed high school, and are legal residents. The program includes several components:

    • Those accepted into the program participate in a six week training Boot Camp that includes skills assessment, career readiness workshops, employee assistance programs, financial planning and social media skills and coaching receive free training for jobs in high demand by healthcare organizations. The Boot Camp is run by the Workplace, a nationally-recognized organization, and one of five Workforce Development Boards in the State of Connecticut that “prepares people for careers while strengthening the workforce for employers;”

    • Employers interested in hiring highly-motivated and skilled healthcare workers who are ready-to-work will be able to market their job openings, have online access to the resumes of many high quality job candidates, and receive up to 50 percent cash reimbursements for on-the-job and customized training costs.

    “It’s a very structured program,” says Ms. DeMatteis. “After six weeks, participants fall into one of three tracks: ‘Rapid Reentry’ for those deemed ‘job ready’; Short-term Training for six weeks longer; and Longer Term Training, which carries a $6000 monetary cap on cost. Hopefully, people go into paid internships which is offered to employers at half the employee’s salary for up to eight weeks.”

    Joseph DiCarlo, Senior Vice President & Director of Human Resources WESTMED Practice Partners stated, "WESTMED is excited about participating in the jobs Waiting Program in conjunction with the One-Stop Employment Center and the WCA. In Today's competitive healthcare landscape, WESTMED puts a premium on hiring and retaining talented, motivated, and passionate human capital to serve our patients. This initiative will provide a robust pipeline of prequalified candidates who are ready and willing to fill the most critical positions, especially the most hard to fill jobs. Furthermore, this partnership will demonstrate how the business community, government, and academia can work collaboratively as an example of how to help close the skills gap in the United States."

    Among the participating regional One-Stop Career Centers in the program: Westchester One-Stop Career Center in White Plains; Mt. Vernon Career Center in Mt. Vernon; Peekskill Career Center in Peekskill; Yonkers Career Center in Yonkers; Putnam One-Stop Career Center in Carmel; Rockland County Career Center in Spring Valley; and other centers in Newburgh, Middletown, Poughkeepsie, Kingston, and Monticello.

    For further information, please visit www.jobswaiting.com or contact Dani DeMatteis at 914-948-4144 or ddematteis@westchester.org.

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