STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — A program with the New York City Department of Probation is preparing individuals for the workforce whether they’re unsure of which industry they want to get into or if they’re a recent college graduate who wants to move up in their respective field.
NeON Works creates a safe space for those have the same goal – to find a job and keep it.
“NeON Works is what we say is a one-size fits one model,” said Heather Day, the program manager at Neighborhood Opportunity Network.
The program is set up in neighborhoods across the five boroughs that historically have the highest rates of people on probation such as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York, Far Rockaway, Harlem, Jamaica, northern Staten Island and the South Bronx. Anyone who isn’t on probation but lives in these neighborhoods is still able to attend. The program is meant to create opportunities in communities that are underserved. Individuals on probation who live anywhere in New York City can also join.
The program meets young people where they’re at in life, helps them decide goals for their future, and provides the tools to reach those goals. The participants can either attend a workshop once or multiple workshops for an entire year.
NeON Works collaborates with local organizations in each respective neighborhood. On Thursday, America Works on Staten Island held a workshop titled ‘Working Your Strengths’ where participants recognized their core values and how it can be beneficial in the workplace.
Shawn Patterson, who is in his 40’s, is about two months into the program and is learning new things about himself as he hopes to renew his certified nursing assistant license.
“I never knew I was a leader, a team leader, expressing myself, facing fears,” Patterson said.
They learn new job skills, build their resume, and earn vocational certifications like for food handling or security jobs.
Steven Ildefonso, 19, hopes to land a security job soon and has referred many friends.
“This will be the best place for them if they don’t really have too much because it helps everybody get back on track,” Ildefonso said.
It also helps beyond getting a paycheck like how to deal with conflict because if your mind is not in the right place, it may be hard to hold onto a new job.
“They give you a plan, a blueprint, or go around it, move about it,” said Anthony Pinkston, a program participant. “Trust me, I know. I’ve been around and things happened to me and they taught me to look at the bright side.”
They also help with enrolling into college or other educational programs.
They typically serve people ages 16 to 24, but they are flexible because they want to bring help to whoever needs it.
“We are just hopeful that we are continuing to strengthen our communities by engaging young people in our neighborhoods,” said Carolina Williams, a site director.
If NeON Works sounds like a program that would be helpful to you, you can visit their website here for more information.