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N.Y.C Launching Nation’s Largest Workforce Development Program for At-Risk LGBTQ Youth

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The new program will provide comprehensive services to LGBTQ+ youth aged 16 to 24.

What We Know:

  • The program is called Unity Works and is a 2.6 million dollar initiative that will provide LGBTQ+ youth with quality jobs and educational opportunities. Additionally, the program will offer access to job training, paid internships, and mental health services to young adults aged 16 to 24. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the program will provide much needed resources after a difficult year. de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray is responsible for launching the New York City Unity Project.
  • The initiative includes the expansion of 24-hour youth drop-in centers to every NYC borough. The program would also expand LGBTQ-affirming mental health training programs and public awareness campaigns across the city. The initial unity project helped lay the foundation for the newest program, which provides a minimum of two years of direct services to trainees. McCray remarks that this is the first time that any city has taken this particular set of comprehensive steps that are critical to long-term success and stability for LGBTQ.
  • Unity Works is collaborating with The Ali Forney Center (AFC), which is one of the largest organizations that help combat the homelessness epidemic for LGBTQ+ youth. AFC currently offers programs such as HIV prevention, outreach, and transitional living services. According to a study by the Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services (ESC), LGBTQ street youth experience greater levels of abuse than their heterosexual counterparts. Over the next four years, the program intends to reach 90 participants, which hopes to make the workforce more inclusive for LGBTQ individuals.
  • The program has also pledged to combat employment discrimination for LGBTQ+ community members. The Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act bands employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Unity Works is set to launch July 1st after a year of being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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