Young woman worker during Y workforce development program.

Investing in Tomorrow’s Workforce Today

Most people agree that investing in youth is important, but not all educational institutions can support young people with practical programs to set them up for success in the workforce.

What can we do when job skills and career development programs are not top priorities in schools?

For nearly 50 years, the Y’s workforce development programs have stepped up to the plate to connect local youth with firsthand employment experiences and top-notch skills training. 

“One of the areas we are most proud of at the Y is workforce development,” said Y CEO Martin Englisher. “We do much more than expose young people to potential careers while teaching them job skills. Our programs help them develop positive attitudes, build career roadmaps, discover the power of networking, understand work ethics, and learn about managing finances.”

The Y has been the starting point of successful career paths for thousands of youth in Washington Heights and Inwood, and is committed to helping youth achieve financial self-sufficiency.

“Our workforce opportunities introduce young people to fields of work that they didn’t know exist,” shared Englisher. “For example, not everyone wants to be a doctor or a nurse, but an introduction to the wide array of opportunities in healthcare can help someone explore a variety of jobs that are rewarding and pay well. Learning about these opportunities also teaches our youth to explore their passions and pursue careers they’ll enjoy.”

“Workforce development at the Y helps our young people discover vocations they are most passionate about,” said Y Chief Program Officer Martin Yafe. “We provide them the tools and opportunities to develop themselves, increasing their chances of finding employment and gaining financial independence. We focus on a wide variety of vocations — childcare, education, administration, healthcare, retail, hospitality, and more — as well as on the skills required to become more marketable and stand out during the application process, like interviewing, resume building, professional etiquette, and financial literacy.

“The great Jewish philosopher from the 12th century, Maimonides, broke down the concept of social justice into different levels. The highest level is when you are able to teach someone how to obtain their own means to sustain themselves to avoid dependency on anyone else. The Y embraces this vision and strives to empower as many young people as possible to achieve career and financial success.”

Learn more about the Y’s workforce development programs, and check back soon for information on upcoming programs.

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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