There are more than 250,000 tech-related jobs in New York City. Many of them don’t require college training yet still offer relatively high wages and a career trajectory. Robin Hood has accelerated efforts to identify and support training programs that teach participants how to test software and become coders. We’re supporting additional organizations in this sector by increasing funding so grantees can expand their syllabus, enabling trainees to earn additional credentials, which can lead to higher-paying jobs.

Suzi Epstein
Robin Hood managing director,
Jobs & Economic Security


In 2014, Robin Hood-funded groups prepared nearly 14,000 adults for jobs.


On any given day, approximately 300,000 New Yorkers are looking for jobs. Long-term unemployment remains a persistent problem in our city. Only 11 percent of those who are long-term unemployed return to steady full-time work a year later. And, those who are long-term unemployed submit fewer applications and get called for fewer interviews than their peers who are out of work for less than six months.


Robin Hood is the largest private funder of job training programs in the city. Our job programs have helped thousands of people get jobs despite barriers to employment such as histories of substance abuse, incarceration, homelessness, and insufficient education or limited English proficiency.

Here’s how we do it

We support organizations that fit into three major groups: placement-only, industry-specific training and entrepreneurship.

Placement-only programs teach “soft skills” such as resume preparation and self-presentation, and they connect job seekers to entry-level positions.

Industry-specific programs offer jobless individuals or low-wage workers training oriented toward a credential or a certificate in a specific sector including health, technology and food preparation, among others.

Entrepreneurship training offers access to credit, free banking services, loans and other technical assistance to inexperienced individuals to help them launch or improve small businesses. Our grantees work mostly with foreign-born or minority entrepreneurs whose businesses also create job opportunities for our city’s most economically disadvantaged neighbors.


About two-thirds of participants in our grantee training and placement programs successfully completed the program and found work within six months. Of these new workers, more than 50 percent landed jobs that offered benefits such as health insurance and paid vacation.

In the past three years, Non-traditional Employment for Women has trained and placed hundreds of its graduates in construction ventures across the city, including JFK’s Delta Terminal redevelopment, Barclay’s Center, the World Financial Center and Columbia University. Half of those who start in apprenticeship positions move on to journeywoman status.

Kathleen Culhane
Non-Traditional Employment for Women, executive director

New York City’s Technology Sector

Because the technology sector offers relatively high wages and a career trajectory, roughly 10 percent of our funding goes to training in this industry. Robin Hood has worked diligently to identify niches of the burgeoning tech sector that are accessible for low-income New Yorkers with limited education. Four recent grants expanded our growing technology portfolio and are preparing individuals for careers that hold great promise. Year Up and Per Scholas are long-time grantees focused on Information Technology (I.T.) training. With Robin Hood support, they added new classes in quality assurance and software testing. We’ve also made new grants to NPower, which trains young adults for entry-level jobs in I.T.

Construction and Facilities Maintenance Sector

We invest 25 percent of our employment training grants in organizations that prepare individuals for occupations in the trades, including carpentry, plumbing, metalworking and maintenance. These jobs, unlike basic construction worker positions, were relatively unaffected by the economic downturn. Although the anticipated boom in the building industry post-Sandy didn’t happen for various reasons, including a slow recovery and delays in the city-led contracting process, construction has grown steadily, if slowly, since 2011. Despite the modest rebound, the building trades unions, the New York City Housing Authority and environmental remediation firms have actively recruited new apprentices and new workers over the past 18 months. Increasing the presence of women and minorities in the skilled trades is a priority for Robin Hood, as union apprenticeship programs offer starting salaries approaching a robust $20 per hour, with automatic annual increases as workers gain more experience. Grantees that prepare people for jobs in the trades include Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, Building Works and New York City Technical College. Grantees that focus on environmental remediation training and energy efficiency include Sustainable South Bronx, St. Nick’s Alliance and Green City Force.

New York City’s Health Sector

Health remains the top growth industry in New York City, and 20 percent of Robin Hood’s investments are in programs that train workers in this field. Nearly 2,000 low-income minority women, mostly mothers, annually engage in programs that prepare them for entry-level jobs as home-health aides or personal care workers. We note that despite the modesty of wages, job opportunities are plentiful, schedules are flexible with weekend and evening options, and job upgrades are the norm. We prepare individuals for advancement and higher future wages in the health field by funding programs that teach individuals how to become phlebotomists (the practice of drawing blood from patients) and medical billing and translating technicians. We support a program at the Center for Immigrant Health at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital that trains low-wage hospital workers to become medical interpreters in hospitals and nursing homes. We also funded a grant to the Fire Department of New York Foundation to train young adults as emergency medical technicians.

Community Partners

1199SEIU – Bill Michelson Home Care Education Fund
A Better Balance
Accion East
Asian Americans for Equality
Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Workforce Innovations
Center for Employment Opportunities
Center for Family Life in Sunset Park
Center for Immigrant Health
Chinese American Planning Council, Inc.
Coalition for Queens
Cooper Union
Doe Fund, Inc., The
FDNY Foundation
Federation Employment and Guidance Service, Inc.
Fifth Avenue Committee
Fortune Society
Grace Institute
Grameen America
Green City Force
Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale
Henry Street Settlement
Highbridge Community Life Center
Hot Bread Kitchen
Housing + Solutions
LaGuardia Community College Division of Adult & Continuing Education
Madison Strategies Group

Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst, Edith and Carl
Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City – NYC Department of Small Business Services
New York City College of Technology
New York City Labor Market Information Service
New York Legal Assistance Group
Nontraditional Employment For Women
NYC District Council of Carpenters Apprenticeship Journeyman Retraining Education & Industry Fund
Outreach Project
Per Scholas
Project Renewal, Inc.
Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York
Sanctuary for Families
Selfhelp Community Services, Inc.
Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation
St. Nicks Alliance
Sunnyside Community Services
Sustainable South Bronx
The HOPE Program
Upwardly Global
Year Up