The City of Albany has been selected to participate in the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), Governor Cuomo’s new initiative to combat poverty and reduce inequality throughout New York State. Under the guidance of Mayor Kathy Sheehan, the City of Albany Poverty Reduction Initiative (CAPRI) aims to better align public and private resources with community-based interventions and build partnerships with community leaders, municipal and state government, direct service providers, the faith community, local employers, and, most importantly, the people impacted by poverty in order to develop sustainable strategies that address the unique needs of the community and reduce poverty in the City of Albany.
Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative funds were made available to municipalities based on the number of people living in poverty as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010-14 American Community Survey Five-Year Estimate.
Workforce development was identified by our community as a priority. Workforce development refers to the systemic removal of barriers to employment. For those navigating poverty, the barriers to full employment are even more pronounced. Some major obstacles to employment identified by City of Albany residents include lack of child-care, lack of literacy and/or basic education, lack of soft skills, transportation issues, and stigma surrounding those returning from incarceration. These barriers can cause the unemployed to lose their sense of empowerment and agency; thus, contributing to generational poverty.
To break this cycle, we must invest our efforts to improve the skills and long-term earning potential for those navigating poverty in the City of Albany.
In order to best serve the City of Albany’s most vulnerable workers, defined as low income adults and out of school youth, our goals are to promote and facilitate, in partnership with community leaders and experts, coordination among workforce providers to maximize scarce resources, engagement between workforce development providers and employers in order to design training programs for real jobs in the community, and deliver effective training programs that meet the needs of employers.
The Center for Human Services at the University of Albany produced a report on best practices for workforce programs for opportunity youth, one of the populations we hope to help through CAPRI.Download Report