Workforce Development Program Launched

BY JOE MARVILLI
Staff Writer

Those who are looking for work now have a new resource to assist them in their search.

Asian Americans for Equality’s Queens branch announced the launch of its new Workforce Development Program on Dec. 5 at One Flushing’s Community Economic Development Center. The program will work with unemployed or underemployed people to connect them with openings that match their skill set. It will also offer training in soft skills necessary to go through the application process successfully.

(from left) John Choe, director of One Flushing, Kenneth Cohen, regional director of the NAACP, Asian Americans for Equality executive director Christopher Kui and Peter Gee, AAFE’s director of Housing and Community Services, were on hand for the launch of the Workforce Development Program. Photo by Joe Marvilli

(from left) John Choe, director of One Flushing, Kenneth Cohen, regional director of the NAACP, Asian Americans for Equality executive director Christopher Kui and Peter Gee, AAFE’s director of Housing and Community Services, were on hand for the launch of the Workforce Development Program.
Photo by Joe Marvilli

Funded by the Robin Hood Foundation, the Workforce Development Program is meant to combat the unemployment rate, which is hovering around nine percent. According to John Choe, founding director of One Flushing, the African-American unemployment rate in the neighborhood is in double-digits.

Besides trying to connect individuals with potential jobs, the program will offer training to make sure those applying can put the right foot forward. Resume, cover letter and interview assistance will be made available for those who need it.

“The program that we are launching will not only help people who are unemployed or underemployed, but then also we are looking to help people who might be in a position already, that they might want to advance or increase their earnings,” Christopher Kui, executive director of AAFE, said. “We feel the opportunity has to be there.”
After the program finds a candidate a job, AAFE will continue to follow that individual for one year to make sure they are adjusting and fitting in with the position.

AAFE has played a role in Flushing’s employment rate through its job fair, which was attended by more than 400 people, according to Choe.

“We’re going to provide training and support services. We’re not just going to let them go. We’re going to follow up and make sure they get the job they want,” he said. “We’re not only helping local residents find a job they need, but also support the small businesses. A lot of small businesses don’t have HR departments. They don’t have time to interview and vet workers.”

Several elected officials or their representatives were on hand to compliment and promote the new employment resource
.
“If you ask people on the street throughout the country what the most important issue is, they will say the economy and jobs,” State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said. “People who have jobs are going to be paying their taxes and the economy will improve. Secondly, crime will go down. I think this is an important initiative.”

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng’s (D-Flushing) representative, Don Capalbi, said the program will make sure that Flushing’s job-seekers are keeping up with the neighborhood’s growth.

“We’re fortunate to live in a very dynamic community here, a growing environment. It’s so absolutely necessary that efforts like this concur in line with this growth,” he said. “Without it, a lot of people will be missing that train.”

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic’s (D-Hillcrest) chief of staff, David Ng, added that the program is a vital source to connect owners and employees.

“It serves a bridge between those seeking employment and employers,” he said. “It’s very important that we have programs to help people cross that bridge.”

For information on the Workforce Development Program, call (718) 961-0888.

Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, jmarvilli@queenstribune.com, or @Joey788.