United Way of Long Island has received a grant award of $200,000 from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to address the economic and social challenges affecting the youth and veterans on Long Island. The grant will help students enrolled in United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild & VetsBuild programs gain the skills they need to compete for jobs that can transform their lives and strengthen the Long Island economy. JPMorgan Chase’s grant also supports the Long Island Business Labor & Employment Council, an initiative run by the United Way that ensures vocational providers and employers are working in collaboration to develop career pathways for the unemployed and underemployed.
Designed to improve the economic prospects of low-income young men, women and veterans, YouthBuild and VetsBuild is a free, income-qualifying program of integrated education, training programs and support services that assist participants in securing employment.
”Commitment to the communities we serve has always been a core focus for JPMorgan Chase,” said Louis Mastrianni, President-LI/Queens Middle Market Commercial Banking, “Supporting leading organizations like the United Way of Long Island is an easy decision and we’re confident in the impact this $200,000 grant will have on the youth and veterans on Long Island.”
"I applaud JP Morgan Chase for this extraordinary commitment to smart programs which help give Long Island veterans and youth the skills they need to secure jobs," Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. "The United Way of Long Island's YouthBuild and VetsBuild programs are helping to transform lives by teaching critical skills and making connections with employers. Programs like this are critical to strengthening Long Island's middle class." “We are very grateful to JPMorgan Chase Foundation for providing this grant which will help connect young people to employment with family sustaining wages,” said United Way of Long Island President & CEO Theresa Regnante. “United Way of Long Island recognizes that graduates of YouthBuild, VetsBuild and other vocational programs require more than just training. They need a wider network of support to help them land a job with benefits leading to financial stability.”
Regnante emphasizes the importance of the support, “The grant from JPMorgan Chase Foundation will allow us to continue operating Long Island Business Labor & Employment Council (LIBLEC), which is an on-ramp to employment not only for students of YouthBuild and VetsBuild but for participants of other vocational programs as well. The grant enables us to accelerate partnerships with more than 60 employers, particularly those in high-growth sectors on Long Island.”
Additionally, the grant will allow LIBLEC members to provide the following to students; participation in networking, conferences, and company fairs, annual career workshops and company tours, internships for qualified program participants and entry-level career opportunities and skill development that will lead to growth potential and higher quality careers.
Elizabeth Morgan, Director of YouthBuild Long Island explains that the aim is to foster career skills and training in construction/building trades, healthcare, customer service, office skills and other career areas. She said, “We owe much of the success of the YouthBuild Long Island program to JPMorgan Chase’s generosity, as 80 percent of the students who have graduated are employed directly or through an affiliate of LIBLEC.”
YouthBuild student Malachi Ware credits the program to directing him down the path of success, “I came to YouthBuild LI to better my life as a father with a little girl. My goal was to have a successful career so I would be able to provide a better opportunity for her future. While at YouthBuild my interest grew in the building trades, and not only did they train me in the field, they taught me the skills I needed to apply for a job and they helped connect me with an employer where I am now working full time. My goal has become a reality and I am so grateful.”
Each career pathway offers opportunities for advancement as well as a quality workforce for employers. Recent data reveals that Long Island employers are having trouble finding workers who are trained for the jobs that are available, particularly in green construction healthcare and customer service industries. United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild and VetsBuild programs helps students to develop the skills they need to compete for these jobs. In addition to addressing the skills gap, YouthBuild and VetsBuild also reduce unemployment. According to the Department of Labor unemployment rates for youths and veterans exceeds 20 percent.