Press Release

Contact:, (212) 306-3322

The New York City Housing Authority and Robin Hood Announce Unique Program to Train Public Housing Residents for Real Jobs

Innovative Public/Private Partnership at NYCHA Will Launch Training Academy to Train up to 1,000 People

The New York City Housing Authority and Robin Hood have announced a joint partnership and the imminent launch of an innovative training academy to develop skills and expertise for public housing residents for jobs with NYCHA and its contractors. This initiative is the largest of its kind in a U.S. city.

The partnership is creating a NYCHA Training Academy that initially will train up to 150 NYCHA residents and will ultimately place qualified graduates in jobs as either Caretakers with the Authority, or in constructions jobs with NYCHA contractors. This one-year pilot project is expected to launch in the Fall 2010.

"Robin Hood and the New York City Housing Authority have created this public-private partnership to help residents acquire the necessary skills to succeed in the workplace, to get good jobs and build careers that will serve as a model moving forward," said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. "With assistance from Robin Hood, we can now train people for jobs that match our workforce needs. Through this public-private partnership, NYCHA is able to maximize economic opportunity and career advancement for residents in its public housing developments."

In the pilot launch of the project, Robin Hood will provide $750,000 in funding for three training organizations to provide training in janitorial and general construction work. Residents will be trained to begin their careers in Caretaker and light construction positions at NYCHA and with NYCHA contractors. NYCHA's Office of Resident Employment Services will conduct outreach, recruitment, provide preliminary assessment and then assist with job placement either at NYCHA or its contractors.

"This effort is part of Robin Hood's broader effort to reduce poverty and boost the earnings of low-income New Yorkers," said David Saltzman, Executive Director of the Robin Hood. "We are excited about funding this pilot, and if it is successful, we will entertain funding that will train up to 1,000 residents."

The not-for-profit service organizations that will conduct the training are Brooklyn Workforce Innovation (BWI), the Building Works program of the District Council of Carpenters; and Non Traditional Employment for Women (NEW). These organizations, which excel at preparing low-income individuals for permanent jobs, will use their own facilities to conduct screening and training for selected candidates. Based on the program's success, the Robin Hood Foundation will consider additional funding that will train up to 1,000 residents for additional jobs, adding other provider partners and employment sectors, such as extermination services.

With the additional training and support, residents not only will be better qualified and prepared to compete for jobs but, more importantly, they will be able to keep those jobs and have opportunities for advancement.

Adds Chairman Rhea: "This Training Academy is important for New York City and represents a vision of ways in which public-private partnership can be used productively in the area of workforce development to enhance the lives of public housing residents. Of all the philanthropic organizations involved in fighting poverty with the commitment and resources to expand this training program citywide, Robin Hood is at the forefront."

The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) also has committed to providing resources and technical support for the Training Academy.

"This Training Academy will be an important offering for NYCHA residents where they can gain real skills for real jobs with long term career prospects," said Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh. "We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure this innovative training program is a success."

Recruitment for the Training Academy will begin later this summer. Interested residents can take advantage of other Resident Employment Services' opportunities. The phone number for NYCHA Resident Employment Services is 718-289-8100.

Robin Hood: Mark Schwartz, 212-227-6601