Google NYC Tech Opportunity Fund Tech Bridge Grant Awards Announced at New York City Employment and Training Coalition Building the NYC Tech Bridge Event

Grants Provided to 5 NYCETC Member Organizations Focused on Growing and Sustaining An Equitable and Inclusive Tech Training Ecosystem through Promising Practice and Partnership

New York, NY – (Oct. 17, 2023) — The New York City Employment and Training Coalition, the largest city-based workforce development association in the country, announced the selection of Google NYC Tech Opportunity Fund grant recipients that will connect New Yorkers to tech careers. Each organization responded to a Request for Proposal focused on the goal of expanding the capacity of successful tech skilling and bridge programs to increase employment opportunities for currently underrepresented demographics in the tech industry. 

“The strongest and most effective connections between job seekers, training providers, and employers in the tech ecosystem right now are the result of sustained and resourced partnerships.  We are very appreciative of the investment that Google made in NYCETC to elevate and advance successful programs and promising practices that are advancing efforts to achieve to equity and inclusivity in New York City’s tech sector,” said Gregory J Morris, CEO, New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC). “To be effective and strategic in our efforts to align industry growth with exponential increases in occupational access and earnings, we will learn from both our extraordinary Tech Bridge Grant awardees and applicants who didn’t receive awards in this round because we think value and impact will be made exponentially greater through our collaboration and communication.” 

“Google believes that successful tech workforce development requires supporting a person’s journey from underskilled to employment, and helping overcome barriers in all forms along that journey.  We applaud NYCETC for the Building the Tech Bridge Grant program to help organizations build partnerships between tech skilling and supportive services.  We also congratulate the Tech Bridge Grant Award winners, and hope they continue to build more pathways for New Yorkers interested in the tech economy,” said Sarah (Hendo) Rosenberg, Google’s NYC and National Tech Education Outreach Lead.

New York City’s tech ecosystem is a driving force for economic development across the entire city – offering high-wage opportunities for jobs that do not necessarily require a four year college degree.  While hiring has slowed in other sectors, the tech industry predicts an expansion of its workforce and a challenge to find and hire “ready” talent. 

Employment and training organizations focused on addressing the technology opportunity gap, closing the digital divide, and creating a diverse and dynamic technology talent ecosystem were eligible to apply for grants to support their work through the new funding. 

These are the recipients of $150,000 grant awards for Google NYC Tech Opportunity Fund Tech Bridge Grant Awards:

Center For Employment Opportunities (CEO) – CEO will collaborate with Monroe College to provide career advancing education and training opportunities in the tech industry for justice-impacted job seekers.

Leap d/b/a Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI) – With support from the NYCETC Tech Bridge program, BWI’s KindWork program will build two working groups of engaged employers focusing specifically on custom curriculum development to better prepare program graduates for employment in the healthcare tech and fintech sectors.

Youth Action Programs and Homes – in partnership with SayCel Technologies and Social Capital Builders, the Next Gen Digital Workforce (NGDW) initiative readies 20 young New Yorkers aged 18-30 for Network Management and Fiber Installation/Maintenance careers.

The Marcy Lab School – Partnering with several career-focused NYC high schools, Marcy Lab School has developed a Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teaching Pathway. In this program, graduates of the Marcy Lab School will spend one year serving as STEM Teaching Apprentices, with a specific focus on Computer Science courses, contributing to the overall vision and direction of their placement school. 

Tech Kids Unlimited (TKU) – To address the critical challenges facing mid-level neurodiverse youth in transitioning from school to the workforce, TKU has designed a unique and trailblazing career pathway program (with partners AHRC and Bridges to Work) to prepare older teens and young adults, ages 18-24, for digital marketing specialist and e-commerce associate roles at nonprofits and small businesses.

“New York City’s tech ecosystem is a driving force for economic development and as this important industry continues to grow throughout the five boroughs, it is critical we ensure equal opportunity for women and minority-led startup businesses,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President & CEO Andrew Kimball. ”We applaud the New York City Employment and Training Coalition on prioritizing access to the skills, training and education needed to thrive in the local economy and congratulate this year’s grant recipients.”

“In today’s economy we know that a robust, well-positioned talent is essential to shared prosperity,” said Abby Jo Sigal, Executive Director for the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Workforce Development. “For many New Yorkers, connecting to training and tech career opportunities is the pathway to an economically sustainable future. All the organizations that submitted proposals to the Tech Bridge are making that happen. Congratulations to all the grant recipients and thank you to NYCETC and Google for supporting this important work.”

“Huge congratulations to not just the recipients of grants, but to every organization who put together such thoughtful proposals around how to democratize access to the tech jobs in NYC that will bolster the city’s future. It’s clear that the traditional methods of training and recruiting within the tech sector have to evolve in order to protect and reinforce NYC’s greatest asset: its talent. The grant funds going to these great organizations will help create new exciting new standards of excellence with regards to collaboration across the tech workforce development spectrum,” said Brendan Collins, Executive Director of the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline.

“With the ‘Building the Tech Bridge’ program, NYCETC underscores the critical importance of fostering genuine partnerships between job seekers, training providers, and employers to drive meaningful diversity and inclusivity within the tech industry,” stated Andrew Rasiej, Co-Founder and President of Civic Hall. “In an era where technology jobs are rapidly evolving, it becomes an urgent mandate to unite all stakeholders, ensuring that the future face of tech talent reflects the diverse fabric of the City of New York.”

“Congratulations to the grant recipients of the Google NYC Tech Opportunity Fund. The five chosen organizations represent an evolution in tech training development in New York City; the  winners are matching specialized populations with intrinsic skillsets with customized training, support, and holistic wraparounds.  I was impressed by the range of applications and welcome any partner to Civic Hall to join us in our mission to democratize tech education for all,” said Seema Shah, the Executive Director of Civic Hall in Union Square.

“We applaud NYCETC and the Google NYC Tech Opportunity Fund for providing critical financial support to scale workforce solutions and preparing the next generation of tech leaders,” said Degan Mercado Leopold, Chief Partnerships Officer at the New York Jobs CEO Council. “This effort demonstrates the power of public and private partnerships.”

“As technology continues to evolve and reshape the way every business operates, it is increasingly critical that small businesses are able to recruit from a talented and technologically fluent pool of candidates,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “The Google NYC Tech Opportunity Fund Tech Bridge Grant is a thoughtful approach to building a talent pipeline here in NYC that will help businesses meet that demand. We commend the NYC Employment Training Coalition for their dedication to creating opportunities for a diverse group of individuals to earn high wages, develop their skills, and contribute to the local economy.”

The Building the Tech Bridge event held at Google on October 6 included public and private partners, funders, talent development and training organizations, and many of the key intermediaries. The event featured panels focused on reflecting on the value and impact of tech training in New York City from the viewpoint of program alumni and efforts to grow and sustain policy and strategy efforts in support of computer science, digital literacy, and tech training for all ages. 

Significant investments need to be made to bolster tech industry efforts to recruit more women and workers of color into these high-wage opportunities. This includes a commitment to establishment of effective and sustainable networks that increase accessibility to tech occupations in tech industries, non-tech occupations in tech industries, and tech occupations in non-tech industries. 

“Creating a more equitable economy in New York won’t be possible without greatly expanding access to the well-paying jobs in the city’s fast-growing tech sector. That’s why I’m so excited about the Tech Bridge initiative and what it is doing to support the most promising programs that are helping New Yorkers from underrepresented communities to get on the path to tech careers,” said Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director, Center for an Urban Future.

“NYCETC’s Building the Tech Bridge event and Google’s investment into tech training innovation aligns to the direction our sector must move in, faced with tech training programs at capacity. At JobsFirstNYC, collaboration and coordination are central to all partnerships including our Tech Sector Network. Five leading tech training organizations have come together consistently over the last year to: build a ‘no wrong door’ approach to future tech talent, foster community across training grads to ensure they develop a sense of belonging within a space so many have been historically left out of, and build a collective mechanism the workforce development ecosystem can use to better understand the tech training pathways New Yorkers can access. We congratulate the awardees and look forward to expanding this Network as the founding partners implement their vision,” said Keri Faulhaber, Vice President, JobsFirstNYC.

“The grant recipients of the Google NYC Tech Opportunity Fund have proposed innovative training programs that will equip a diversity of New Yorkers with the skills and support needed to access quality, well-paying tech sector jobs. Since 2004, Workforce Professionals Training Institute (WPTI) has focused on strengthening the systems that connect people to jobs and promote economic mobility and equality of opportunity and we are excited by the potential of the Tech Bridge initiative to not only support underrepresented communities in entering the tech sector but to serve as a model for New York City businesses and employers to support the talent development of New York City,” said Andrea Vaghy, Chief Program Officer, Workforce Professionals Training Institute.

“The five Tech Opportunity Fund Bridge Grant awardees are building great and strategic partnerships to increase entry to high-paying, in-demand jobs in NYC’s dynamic tech sector for New Yorkers who have for too long been less able to access them. The training and supports from these partnerships will directly help individuals and families achieve real economic mobility,” said Simon Chiew, Program Officer, Tiger Foundation.

“We are inspired by the innovation, energy and dedication of all of the Tech Bridge applicants. As the tech sector impacts all of our daily lives, the time to amplify diverse perspectives and ensure tech equity is now. There are no better partners for this work than the incredible workforce development providers who know our communities best. Congratulations to all of the grant recipients and thank you to Google for your investment in this critical work,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Interim Board Chair, NYCETC and President & CEO, The Doe Fund.

Google announced its partnership to identify grant recipients through the NYC Tech Opportunity Fund Tech at the 2022 NYCETC Conference: Advancing Talent & Equity for a Thriving Economy. NYCETC developed the process for selecting grantees through a concept paper and a Tech Bridge Summit.  The Tech Bridge Summit at the Google Learning Hub in June focused on identifying and connecting promising tech industry training and job placement efforts to current and future employment opportunities; and advance efforts to improve equity and diversity in the tech sector.

Key takeaways from summit participants included the need for improved collaboration among stakeholders in the workforce ecosystem, desire for sustainable and efficient processes to scale workforce development efforts, and the need for both digital literacy and upskilling for talent.

“BWI is grateful to NYCETC and Google for this dedicated funding to strengthen pathways to tech careers through our strategic partnership with KindWork,” said Aaron Shiffman, Executive Director, BWI and NYCETC Board Member. “In workforce development, change is the only constant, and fueling KindWork’s efforts to translate sector intel into dynamic curriculum will advance its core purpose: ensuring young people from historically excluded communities have the best tools and support to access opportunity, build robust careers, and define a new future for themselves.”

“NYC’s tech sector is full of opportunity. This grant will catalyze collaborations with employer partners and test new ways of keeping our work in lockstep with tech sector trends and innovations. We look forward to sharing our learnings from this project with the workforce development and tech communities,” said Kate Doyle, KindWork Co-Founder.

“Youth Action is honored to join forces with NYCETC to create pathways to tech careers for young adults in Harlem and the South Bronx. Google’s generous Tech Bridge funding equips us to provide essential support that is crucial for the persistence and success of our students,” said Robert T. Taylor, Executive Director, Youth Action Programs and Homes, Inc.

“TKU is honored and thrilled to be selected for this award, along with our partners AHRC and Bridges, to help change the work paradigm for neurodiverse students with autism/adhd so they can enter the workforce doing jobs that they find meaningful in the tech world. As digital natives who can and want to use their tech skills in the workplace, they will be helping to break down the typical barriers of jobs related to food, filth, flowers and factories which they have traditionally faced for the last 50 years,” said Beth Rosenberg, Founder and Executive Director, Tech Kids Unlimited.

The Center For Employment Opportunities (CEO), along with Monroe College as our partner in this project, is thrilled to be a recipient of the NYC Tech Bridge grant. Creating a more equitable workforce requires innovative efforts to train and support justice-impacted workers who too often lack access to good jobs and career advancement. We look forward to collaborating with Monroe College, NYCETC, Google, and our fellow grantees to advance access and equity in New York City’s Tech landscape,” said Christopher Watler, Executive Vice President, Center for Employment Opportunities and NYCETC Board Member.

“With the generous support from the NYCETC Tech Bridge Grant and Google, our Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teaching Pathway at Marcy Lab will both broaden and deepen our impact in the New York City tech ecosystem, seeding a new generation of diverse STEM talent in our local communities. We’re thrilled to take this next step in facilitating collaboration among Marcy Lab, partner schools, the NYCDOE, and additional key stakeholders,” said Reuben Ogbonna, Executive Director and Co-Founder, The Marcy Lab School.

Download a pdf of the press release here. Photos from the Building the Tech Bridge program can be found here.


About the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC)

Founded in 1997, the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC) is the largest city-based workforce development association in the country. NYCETC works to ensure that every New Yorker — especially those who have been historically marginalized and disenfranchised and cut off from workforce opportunities — has access to the skills, training, and education needed to thrive in the local economy and that every business is able to maintain a highly-skilled workforce. Its over 220 members create jobs and connect underserved New Yorkers — primarily New Yorkers of color, New Yorkers with low or moderate incomes, New Yorkers with multiple barriers to employment, and New Yorkers who have been left out of the growing economy due to systemic and historic marginalization — to opportunities so they can support their families and give back to their communities.