Dear Friend of BWI,

Right now, our nation and our city are facing a once-in-a-lifetime crisis, and the low-income New Yorkers and communities of color BWI serves are at the epicenter. They are more likely to have been furloughed or laid off; their communities are experiencing higher rates of infection and death from COVID-19; and they are bearing witness each day to a national reckoning with how racism affects every system in this country, not least of all the economy.

I believe there will be an “other side” to all this, but we have a long way to go. In the meantime, BWI will be here, doing what we’ve always done: bridging the gap to empowering, stable careers. On Zoom, over the phone - and as soon as it is safe - back together in small groups. We’re working hard to ensure that New Yorkers grappling with the effects of poverty and racism have the resources they need to skill up, and to re-enter the workforce.

This, our summer newsletter, outlines what some of this work looks like. I hope it reaches you and your loved ones in good health. Thank you, always, for being part of our mission.

Aaron Shiffman
Executive Director
Aaron Shiffman
Executive Director

BWI Introduces Graduate Fernando Maisonet

Our organization is honored to have been featured during Robin Hood's recent Rise Up New York benefit, a virtual telethon to raise funds for vulnerable New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19. 
Equipping trainees and grads with Tools of the Trade

BWI's Tools of the Trade fund, made possible by the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation, enables BWI to give our neediest participants resources to overcome barriers to their training.

This used to mean providing MetroCards for trainees who couldn't afford transportation to class, or professional clothing to trainees who lacked new outfits for interviews. But these days, the Tools of the Trade fund has become an invaluable part of our efforts to connect graduates with resources to come out ready and able to work.
This screenshot was taken from one of our "Made in NY" Post Production Zoom sessions that help grads keep their skills sharp.
Supporting our community through this moment

If you know BWI, you know that our relationships with trainees last long past their graduations. Right now, our graduates face a wide range of challenges. Our most recent alumni have had their job searches interrupted; many others have lost their hard-earned jobs and the benefits, including healthcare, that came with them. Still others continue to report to work each day as essential workers.

That's why BWI's holistic approach to this crisis includes:
  • Supporting graduates who may have lost their hard-earned jobs. That means helping alumni to navigate the public benefits and unemployment insurance systems; providing referrals to community-based resources for emergency food and health care; connecting them with direct cash assistance; and supporting their job search and re-placement efforts. 
  • Providing continuing education and industry connections to all grads. BWI invested resources in outreach to support trainees and graduates facing hardship, and in technology and software to enable remote work for staff and virtual learning for trainees.
  • Pivoting to virtual applications and trainings whenever possible. Recruitment has continued virtually with online information sessions and assessments. In the long run, this could allow BWI to increase recruitment efforts with the same resources and reach more New Yorkers who are considering skills training, though we also remain cognizant that digital skills and technology barriers must be removed to reach all members of the communities BWI serves. 
  • Orienting programming toward sectors where hiring demand remains. Leveraging strong relationships with employers and our myriad industry connections, BWI continues to place graduates in jobs within essential industries and remote-enabled jobs.

As we work toward a more equitable economic recovery, we’re grateful for your partnership. BWI's work matters, and we couldn’t do it without you. 
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