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Administration reverses funding decision for NYCHA apprenticeship program

Administration reverses funding decision for NYCHA apprenticeship program

By GLORIA PAZMINO 12/20/2017


Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration is reversing a funding decision that would have resulted in layoffs for a recently launched apprenticeship program run by the New York City Housing Authority.

Administration officials confirmed the city will provide an additional $6.5 million in fiscal year 2018 and $2 million in fiscal year 2019 to keep the program running through the summer of 2019.

The additional funding will allow 74 current participants to graduate out of the program.

Last month, NYCHA said it would cut funding for the civil service apprenticeship, which was first launched in November 2016 as a first-of-its-kind program designed to help NYCHA residents learn building trades skills and secure union jobs.

The funding cut would have resulted in layoffs for more than three dozen Union of Painters and Allied Trades workers, but the agency reversed course this week, saying an increase in demand for paint jobs in the coming months is expected to result in the need for additional labor.

“We are thrilled that more New Yorkers will have good paying jobs to support their families with the extension of the Apprenticeship Painters Program,” NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said in a statement. “This funding from City Hall is critical in helping the current apprentices achieve their goals.”

Despite the additional funding, 19 program participants will not have enough hours to reach graduation by the end of 2019. Those participants will be offered caretaker positions within NYCHA, officials said.

Joseph Azzopardi, business manager and secretary treasurer for District Council 9, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, said the additional funding would help dozens more NYCHA residents secure a path to the middle class.

“DC 9 looks forward to working with our partners at City Hall to use this workforce to address any paint-related issue within NYCHA housing,” Azzopardi said.