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Our mission is to empower low-and moderate-income people by creating living-wage employment opportunities and access to career paths. We seek to develop programs that counter prevailing market inequalities (especially those based on race or gender) and contribute to a broader movement for economic justice.
Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI) helps those with significant barriers to employment access careers through skills training, access to employer-recognized credentials, job placement, and career development support.
BWI has developed training programs built on promising local sectors of the economy; we only train people for jobs we know exist and that lead to living-wage employment. Our instructors are skilled and experienced in the industries they train for, and we maintain long-standing relationships with a wide network of business that hire our graduates.
Supportive services are central to BWI’s model as well. We know that being unemployed brings with it challenges such as housing instability and hunger, and we have a team on-site that offers benefits access services, financial coaching, and other supports that reinforce the work we are doing to help trainees access promising careers. Once an individual is enrolled in a BWI program, we remain a resource for up to two years. This is one of the primary reasons that the majority of BWI graduates obtain jobs and remain employed long-term.
Brooklyn Workforce Innovations was founded in 2000 – through a merger between Leap, Inc. and Fifth Avenue Committee’s workforce development programs – and has grown to become one of the most impactful workforce development organizations in New York City. BWI’s first program, Red Hook on the Road, aimed to bridge the gap between the thousands of unemployed public housing residents in Red Hook and the abundance of jobs in the school bus driving and other commercial driving industries, which maintained their vehicle fleets and operations in the same community. Today, BWI’s work bridges similar skills gaps city-wide.
Thanks to the success of that initial program, BWI was able to create new job training programs that focus on growing career sectors and reach participants living in all five NYC boroughs. Our now eight award-winning programs and initiatives serve more than 830 individuals annually. These programs have collectively made it possible for more than 8,000 New Yorkers to build careers.