NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of New Haven, with a big boost from the federal government, is working to help students and young adults achieve a successful future.
Monday, 10 local organizations were awarded workforce development grants. The grants were funded by $1 million provided in the American Rescue Plan. Each organization received $100,000.
Mayor Justin Elicker said the grants don’t only just help young adults who use the programs, but also the economy as a whole.
Industry certification programs, like the one Samira Abdul-Karim recently completed, are getting a financial boost to help more young people.
“What better time than now to really dive into this passion of mine,” said Chef Samira Abdul- Karim, a chef who completed the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology culinary program.
For Abdul-Karim, a meaningful and successful career path is in the culinary industry. She completed job training at ConnCAT and now works there as a chef.
“I think I gained a huge amount of confidence and independence learning how to manage my time more, and just focusing on something I love,” Abdul-Karim said.
ConnCAT was among the organizations that received a grant to expand enrollment and its new medical assistant training program.
Abdul-Karim said she gained the skills in a growing industry that needs more workers, and hopes more young people take advantage of the growing training programs.
“They not only teach us all the techniques we need, they also send us to different externships with restaurants across the city so you have the opportunity to get right into the kitchen after gaining all the knowledge you get here,” Abdul-Karim said.
Grant recipients said their career pathway organizations will be able to expand during a time of high demand.
Collectively, they will serve a thousand students and young adults interested in fields like bioscience, computer coding, construction, health care and manufacturing. The city said applicants chosen this round promoted economic empowerment, while also reducing the racial wealth gap by enhancing career readiness.
“We want to help young people to really know what’s out there because without this funding we would be struggling to find ways of doing it,” said Shirley Ellis-West, the executive director of the Urban Community Alliance.
Alden Woodcock, the executive director of Emerge, said the grant helps the organization add capacity.
“Have a space where young people in New Haven can work with folks who speak their language, understand what they’ve been through, had that lived experience and get help them navigate those pitfalls of figuring out who you are,” he said.
Elicker said more applications and grants will be made available by summer.