Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 002
Friday, October 11, 2011

MAYOR'S OFFICE TO COMBAT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE COMMISSIONER JIMENEZ, TECHNOLOGY COMMISSIONER POST, AND PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS HOST GRADUATION CEREMONY FOR FIRST "NYC STEPS" CLASS AT THE NYC FAMILY JUSTICE CENTER IN QUEENS

Program Graduates to Have Access to Ongoing Training Resources and Career Development Opportunities

Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) Commissioner Yolanda Jimenez and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Carole Post today attended a graduation ceremony for domestic violence  survivors who will have completed  12 weeks of workplace and computers skills training under the first-ever Supported Training and Employment Preparation Services (NYC STEPS) program, created to help individuals prepare for entry-level jobs in the technology field.

The ceremony was held at the NYC Family Justice Center in Queens.

The NYC STEPS program was designed and coordinated by DoITT and NetApp in an innovative public-private partnership to help prepare certain under-served New Yorkers for careers in the Technology Industry. The program was offered at the NYC Family Justice Center in Queens (FJC) where clients attended weekly sessions led by guest instructors and assisted by FJC personnel who provided support and supplemental instruction.

"Through innovative, public-private partnerships like NYC STEPS, we're empowering today's graduates to achieve the best of what they can imagine," said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post.  "I congratulate all of today's graduates, thank our many program partners, and look forward to expanding this important technology initiative to Family Justice Centers - and New Yorkers - across the city."

The first NYC STEPS graduating class is made up of 12 participants, survivors of domestic violence who have been assisted at the NYC Family Justice Center in Queens and were working towards self-sufficiency, jobs, and financial independence. Participants are women from 10 different countries ranging in age from 28 to 53 who finished the program satisfactorily and will be receiving a certificate of completion.  They will now be directed to Workforce 1 and its partners to receive help and referrals to entry-level job opportunities.

"We are delighted to be celebrating the graduation of this first NYC STEPS class. We hope that the knowledge and skills acquired will make these participants feel empowered and ready to continue their journey towards greater independence," said Yolanda Jimenez, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence. "I commend each and every one of you for your enthusiasm, commitment and unwavering dedication to this program; and I thank our corporate partners and all the agencies involved in making this program possible."

Also part of this initiative, NYC Service assisted in the development of this program by coordinating a volunteer base that helped students in each class and ensured a list of high-profile guest instructors from the public and private sectors.

"The City of New York has given NetApp and its New York City-based employees a great place to live and work, said Regina Kunkle, NetApp Vice President for State and Local Government and Higher Education.  We are thrilled to be able to give back to the City and the inspiring graduates of the New York City STEPS program."

Today's NYC STEPS graduates will now have an array of training resources and career development opportunities available to them.  The NYC Family Justice Center will provide information on paid internships, entry level job openings, and mentorships, and refer the graduates to the following partner organizations:

Dress for Success Worldwide, an international non-profit organization that promotes a network of support and career development tools, will provide:

Professional clothing for program graduates when attending job interviews.
Weekly training sessions, through its “Going Places Network,” to help unemployed and under-employed clients gain professional skills, accelerate their job search and build confidence.
Lifetime membership to the Professional Women’s Group for ongoing workplace support.
The NYC Department of Small Business Services Workforce1 service prepares and connects qualified candidates to job opportunities in New York City, including job placement, recruitment events training and education programs, skill-building workshops, career advisement, and connection with Workforce1 community-based partner organizations.

The Jamaica Neighborhood Center Job Club, a family services agency that is sponsored by the ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, will offer job search events and coaching,  resume assistance and interview practice, as well as job search and computer skills workshops.

The Queens Library provides training, including instructor-led courses as part of the Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program (BTOP) funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.  Courses will include computer skills classes, interview skills and resume preparaton workshops, and one-on-one sessions with Library staff.

NetApp, the primary NYC STEPS corporate partner, will also offer a part-time, paid internship to one NYC STEPS graduate, who will be charged with coordinating the next NYC STEPS program at the NYC Family Justice Center in the Bronx.

The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications provides for the sustained, efficient and effective delivery of IT services, infrastructure and telecommunications to modernize, unlock, innovate and enhance service delivery to New York City’s residents, businesses, employees and visitors.

The New York City Family Justice Center Initiative of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence reduces barriers faced by victims of domestic violence who are seeking help.  Launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005, this initiative enables victims to meet with a prosecutor, speak with a trained counselor, and apply for housing and financial assistance in just one visit – all in their language while their children play safely in the next room.  By providing services in one location with partnering City agencies and community providers, the Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx Centers are increasing the effectiveness of service delivery to break the cycle of violence. The New York City Family Justice Center Initiative is a private/public partnership of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization established to promote partnerships between the City and the private sector.

CONTACT:
Nicholas Sbordone (DoITT) – 212-788-6602
Ruth Villalonga (OCDV) – 212-442-0490