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New York State Awards $300,000 OYCEA Grant to United Way of Long Island to Provide Guidance and Career Training Skills to 100 Opportunity Youth

New Programs to Benefit Brentwood, Central Islip, North Bellport and Wyandanch Communities 

United Way of Long Island is the recipient of a $300,000 Opportunity Youth Career Exploration and Access Project (OYCEA) grant from the New York State Department of Labor to develop and implement a workforce development program for opportunity youth. United Way of Long Island will apply the funds to provide assistance to approximately one hundred teens, aged 14-17, seeking to improve their academic and career prospects and develop supportive networks of trusted adults they can turn to for help or guidance.
 
The funding was announced on August 28, 2018 and is part of NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement of $8.35 million awarded to help Long Island communities combat gang activity and prevent gang recruitment. 
 
Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon explains, “This funding will provide youth in targeted communities in Nassau and Suffolk counties with greater access to social services and workforce development programs – key interventions needed to help kids who are at risk. The Department of Labor is proud to be a part of this effort and we look forward to helping achieve results for at-risk young men and women in Long Island communities.” 
 
Gang violence has put many teens across Suffolk County at risk for dropping out of school and entering the juvenile justice system. As a counterbalance, the OYCEA Project aligns teenagers into viable life pathways including career and college preparedness. 
 
One hundred participants will partake in a nationally-recognized work readiness curriculum with the goal of enhancing and developing career interests and job readiness. They will also learn the skills needed to succeed in the workplace, including: communication skills, attitude, and dressing for success. Fifty students will then be placed with a local community-based organization in a paid internship experience that matches their individual interests. Internships will be available during the summer and during the school year. The project will recruit youth from Brentwood, Central Islip, N. Bellport and Wyandanch, and help to ensure that our communities and participants are not left behind in building a secure future. 
 
In addition, United Way of Long Island will work with its partner agencies, including Family Service League and Pronto of Long Island, to recruit program participants and provide supportive services such as group counseling, anger management and life-skills training. 
Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island, explains, “United Way of Long Island looks forward to helping students develop viable career pathways in an accountable setting. To help the students stay focused on achieving their goals, incentives such as stipends are built into the program and are rewarded to the teens as they reach successful completion of benchmarks.”
 
“These afterschool and summer programs offer opportunities for constructive community engagement, ultimately preparing students for robust futures including post-secondary education. Our multi-pronged approach will provide youth with greater access to social services and workforce development programs. We expect that graduating participants will become valued members of the working community,” explains Craig Fligstein, Chief Grant Officer, Vice President Community Impact at United Way of Long Island.
 
The OYCEA Project builds on United Way of Long Island’s DREAMS for Youth Scholarship, as well as Bank of America’s Summer Youth Employment, which is a partnership with nonprofits and businesses throughout Long Island to place young people in paid internships during the summer months.
 
To learn more about the projects of United Way of Long Island, visit www.unitedwayli.org.
 
About New York State Department of Labor
The mission of the New York State Department of Labor is to protect workers, assist the unemployed and connect job seekers to jobs.
 
We vigorously enforce state Labor Laws to give businesses that obey the law an even break. We work aggressively to ensure a fair wage for all workers. We protect the safety and health of workers and the public. We help the unemployed via temporary payments (unemployment insurance). We link job seekers with employers. We guide workers to training that will keep New York strong in the world economy.
 

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