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Project Welcome

Project Welcome was an employment-driven initiative delivered by CEWD in partnership with KCC’s Office of Continuing Education. Launched in February 2007, the program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor Community-Based Jobs Training Grant, was awarded to KCC to train New York City residents within the Tourism and Hospitality industry. The program was free-of-charge, open to the under- and unemployed individuals, and to career changers with an interest in pursuing careers in hospitality and food production. Project Welcome offered three training programs: Hospitality Operations and Management, Hospitality Event and Meeting Planning, and Food Service Operations. The 10 to 12 week programs included certification test fees, books and supplies, internship opportunities and assistance with job placement. Project Welcome represented a new model for job training programs at Kingsborough; we have used this successful model for subsequent grant-funded initiatives.

Project Welcome is proud to have met and exceeded all the projected outcomes. We enrolled 798 participants with 495 adults and 115 youths completing training, and earning industry specific certifications and CUNY Certificates of Completion. Project Welcome employment specialists worked closely with participants and placed 295 graduates into employment, the majority of which entered hospitality or culinary jobs. Over 200 of whom retained employment according to W.I.A. Common Measures. Additionally, 50 young adults entered employment and/or enrolled in college. 

Career Pathways: The development of a foodservice and hospitality career pathway allowed staff and faculty to better understand what jobs could result from our training and how additional education, training and certifications could lead to higher wage jobs and movement up the career ladder. The Career Pathways, Virtual Enterprise Cyber Hotel Case Scenarios and Student Database were submitted to DOL as products for dissemination for the benefit of future grantees. Employer Advisory Board meetings were held once to twice a year to communicate program outcomes, share best practices and seek input on training models and develop plans for sustainability.

Unanticipated Outcomes
Articulation into college: To date, over 65 Project Welcome graduates have applied to KCC to pursue their Associates Degree in the department of Tourism and Hospitality.

Entrepreneurship and Ownership Track: Students had the opportunity to explore entrepreneurial opportunities through their participation in KCC’s Kitchen Incubator Program. Businesses developed as a result of this collaboration include Brooklyn Fudge, People’s Pops and Early Bird.

Successful sustainability, Dissemination and Program Replication: Building on the success of Project Welcome’s model, CEWD worked with NYC Small Business Services, Council Member Domenic Recchia and local CBO’s to develop a customized training program to meet the training and employment needs of the Coney Island community. In January 2010 CEWD launched Coney Island Project Welcome. The Project Welcome model was also integrated into the CUNY Young Adult Program and has been adopted by SUNY Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center (BEOC).

CUNY Young Adult Program

The CUNY Young Adult Program (CYAP) was a partnership of three CUNY colleges: LaGuardia Community College (LGCC), Kingsborough Community College (KCC), and New York City College of Technology (City Tech). Each college offered a customized skills training program to prepare participants for employment. CYAP served participants between the ages of 18 and 24 who weren't currently employed or enrolled in school, had their high school diplomas or GEDs, and demonstrated financial need. CYAP included an intensive assessment component, job development, bridge training, and case management.

Kingsborough Community College provided Food Service Operations and Hospitality Operations and Management training that emphasized hands-on skills and industry certifications. LaGuardia Community College provided Business and Financial Services training, which included training in bank teller, bookkeeping, retail skills/customer services and basic computer operations (Microsoft Office Suite). New York City College of Technology provided Construction-related and Facilities Management training in order to place participants in paid union apprenticeship positions as well as employment.

Each student completed an E-portfolio and created a Digital Story 21 of the E-Portfolios/Digital stories were posted online Students learned how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Movie Maker, and learned how to conduct research using the internet and build an e-portfolio.

Green CUNY Young Adult Program

The Green CUNY Young Adult Program (Green CYAP), funded by the New York State Department of Labor, was based on the successful CYAP program. Two components were added: a “green-awareness” piece focused on urban agriculture and the National Work Readiness Credential.

KCC Green CYAP offered training in Food Service Operations and included a  focus on hospitality and customer services.  The program was composed of college coursework, workshops and lectures that focused on workplace readiness, and customer service and business operations. Hands-on experience was further enhanced through internships and with virtual simulations that gave students an insider’s look on how a particular business operates.

The training also exposed young adults, 18 to 24 years old, to concepts of sustainability related to urban agriculture and entrepreneurship. Weekly class topics enhanced their understanding of organic food, carbon footprint, recycling, composting, and other strategies for sustainable living.  Participants are able to connect what they learn in the classroom with real world experience through field trips to local farms and community gardens.

Brooklyn FoodWorks Initiative

The Brooklyn FoodWorks Initiative (BFW) was launched by CEWD in Spring 2011 as part of CUNY’s GreenWorks! Practicum. Kingsborough’s participation in this program was focused on supporting the emerging sustainable food economy, particularly through urban agriculture, which is rarely included in “green jobs” dialogue.  The project was created to strengthen current services geared towards food entrepreneurs, linked KCC food initiatives and built capacity for urban agriculture initiatives.


Outcomes from the project include the creation of a network of sustainable restaurants, visible on our online sustainable restaurants map. There have been over 3,000 views to this map. KCC utilized the network to complete its research component and promote sustainability on campus.

Data from the survey indicated that restaurants source locally because of the quality of foods, second because of environmental concerns. The number one difficulty encountered by restaurants in sourcing locally has been expense, second is limited time availability. Restaurants indicated that sustainability for them is an operating commitment and a personal preference. 80% of respondents include their sourcing information on mostly on their menu and internet advertising. Almost all the restaurants who responded prefer to hire employees who are knowledgeable about sustainability. 40% expressed that specialized sustainability training would warrant higher wage or lead to promotion/or higher pay for an employee. While 92% provide food service training to their staff only 67% provide training in sustainability.

As a follow-up to the survey, CEWD held a discussion panel during KCC Eco-Fest 2011 entitled Sustainability and Urban Agriculture at Kingsborough that featured sustainability in the restaurant industry. Later that week, KCC launched its Urban Farm, and in Summer 2011, CEWD ran its first credit and non-credit Urban Farm classes.

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