Colleagues in the
Cooper Union Retraining Program for Immigrant Engineers at CAMBA
(RPIE) were thrilled to go home that night with the
Serving Special Populations Award
, which recognized their combined efforts to bring middle-income jobs to highly skilled new immigrant New Yorkers who have professional backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) but lack the certifications or employment connection services needed to secure a job in that field. As a result, many struggle to adjust to the American job market, and contend with long-term unemployment or working low-paid, survival jobs.
Established in 1991, the Cooper Union program has connected over 3,000 immigrant professionals to technical careers. Cooper Union partnered with CAMBA in 2016 to reach a broader population, and manage all student services. According to Katya Zaitseva, Program Manager in Workforce Development, CAMBA brought its expertise in soft skill training, in-depth knowledge of the labor market and close connections with employers and industry partners. As a result, the program helped graduates see an average household income increase of over $28,000.
But the best reward of all, Katya says, comes from seeing skilled immigrants land jobs in fields that match their skills and training and provide a living wage for them and their families. "The gist is that you help the individual achieve their professional goals. But these are also STEM professionals whose technical expertise contributes to the growth of New York City as a whole. For example, this year several of our participants got jobs with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). I strongly believe that hiring these global engineering minds may be just the thing the MTA needs to get us all to work on time!”
We salute Katya, Cooper Union and the entire Workforce Development team for their success!