Principals and students of the Grand St. Campus, led by Principal Rosemary Vega of School for Legal Studies, cut the ribbon on the Career GPS Center. The refurbished mutli-room center will inspire students to take active steps toward their future career goals. Each room features a color and a focus: the blue room for youth employment, the orange room for career planning, and the green room for skills training.
Michael Rochford, the Exec. Dir. St. Nicks Alliance, thanked Citi Foundation for financial support, which acknowledges St. Nicks Alliance as a “progress maker” (organizations that have been selected for their innovative ideas). “All of the students that we will be serving through Career GPS, we will be able to document their progress made from objectives that we have,” said Rochford. He also mentioned, “The other major partner we have in this effort is business. We are most grateful today to have two members of the St. Nicks Alliance board Nancy Zapata of Control Electropolishing Corp. and from Time Inc. Ms. Lydia Morris
After congratulating the youth who came to the event (even though it was a day off from school) Debra Sue Lorenzen, St. Nicks Alliance’s Dir. of Youth and Education, stated, “I know this is not going to be the case for the young people in this room, but 20,000 of your peers won’t graduate high school. They’ll drop out. Almost 70% of the jobs out there when you graduate are going to need a post-secondary education. So in order to get a job, you really do need to have some sort of college or post high school training.”
“I know that you are going to make some very powerful and decisions in your lives. I’m really excited that all these adults are here to support you in your journey. This room is just, I already feel it, look around! It’s got a place where you can come to make incredible decisions about your life. So we are very supportive and the college and career readiness that St. Nicks Alliance and this partnership are providing for all of you and I’m very excited for you,” said Jan Goldberg speaking on behalf of the high school superintendent.
Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna cautioned about not taking the center for granted, “The unemployment rate in our own district here in Williamsburg, Bushwick, it is 17% to 19% and it is in pockets of poverty. Make sure that you have the knowledge, know the pathways and be able to access information, and that’s what this center is expecting to provide for you but it’s only as good as you make use of resources.”
Evelyn Cruz (representing Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez) addressed St. Nicks Alliance’s Workforce development’s role and the fight to protect funding, “[Workforce Development] is out there to provide a lot of services. I know that the DYCD helped fund this program. DYCD comes to our community development block grant funding which is federal allocation and this is what [Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez] does in Washington. We continue to fight to bring resources to our neighborhoods. We need young people to now, especially in this climate, get involved politically.”
After the ribbon was cut, the students were led in career building activities in each of the rooms.