Ds Scholarship

Mayor de Blasio, CUNY Announce Scholarship Program to Advance Careers of City’s Human Service Worker

June 9, 2021

New York-Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the Human Services Career Advancement Grant, a new program for the city that offers qualified human services workers the opportunity to advance in their careers by earning a CUNY degree or social work license. This scholarship program, offered through CUNY and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, will help build a pipeline of qualified New Yorkers to lead human service organizations in the city.

The $2 million investment will provide degree scholarships to approximately 50 individuals for master’s degrees and approximately 70 individuals for associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. It will also enroll 300 students in the LMSW exam preparatory class.

“Human services workers are the vital link between public goods and New Yorkers who need to access them. They have kept New York City afloat while we fought COVID-19, and I am proud to support new and exciting opportunities for them to grow and advance in their fields,” Major Bill de Blasio. “Thanks to our partners at CUNY and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, New York City will create a new generation of human service leaders who keep our city strong and connected.”

“Through the Human Services Career Advancement Grant, the city directly addresses the identified barriers to the advancement of humanitarian workers,” he said, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives c. Philip Thompson. “This investment in human services workers, who play such a key role in the city’s infrastructure, will allow us to create a pipeline for workers to rise through the ranks within our city’s human services organizations, and ultimately benefit the New Yorkers who receive their services.”

The human services sector has played a critical role during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that vulnerable New Yorkers are connected to critical support services and mental health care. Offering higher education scholarships in this professional field will help our city develop a sustainable pool of social workers to care for New Yorkers during this next phase of recovery and beyond,” Melanie Harzog, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.

“This innovative partnership between City and CUNY will make it financially possible for more human services professionals – who contribute so much to our city – to earn degrees and licenses that will help them advance in their careers,” he said. Chris Neal, Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development. “Not only will this investment help workers advance, but it will also build a pool of talent to fill leadership positions across the sector.”

The FPWA and The New School’s New York City Center for City Affairs will lead a steering committee of umbrella human services organizations and direct service providers to promote the program and advise on design and implementation.

“City University of New York is pleased to help provide the Human Services Career Advancement Scholarship, leveraging the university’s workforce development capabilities in a time of unprecedented need,” New York City Councilor Felix F. Matos Rodriguez. “This win-win program will enable New York City workers to gain the benefits of a CUNY education and gain the training, skills, and credentials to advance their careers in areas that benefit millions of New Yorkers. We thank the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development for enabling CUNY and our other partners in this endeavor to help New York to recover by expanding and improving social service delivery.”

“The most important services in our city are driven by a workforce of around 60,000 people. Of these, 67% are women and 68% are people of color. The Human Services Career Advancement Scholarship creates a pathway to a degree or license for those essential workers who have had to put off their education due to shortfalls in financial and other important support.” Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of FPWA. “The FPWA is pleased to be a part of this project as it empowers New York’s human services workers and recognizes the essential role they play in keeping our city and our residents strong.”

“This new scholarship program will open career advancement opportunities to a workforce of color predominantly women who provide city-funded human services,” he said, James Parrott, Director of Economic and Financial Policy at The New School New York City Affairs Center. This will help retain and reward an important workforce, and contribute to improving service delivery. This new partnership reflects City’s renewed commitment to investing in its not-for-profit workforce.”

Human service workers run homeless shelters, run senior centers, support young people in summer jobs, connect people to permanent jobs, and ensure the well-being of New York City’s children. But the human services organizations that hire them often lack sufficient funding to invest in professional development.
Employees of eligible nonprofit organizations that have human service contracts with the City of New York may apply for a scholarship of up to 50% of tuition costs to pursue an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree at one of CUNY’s participating colleges. Workers with a Master of Social Work degree, but no license, can apply to participate in a test preparation class, offered by the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, which will be available free of charge and covers the cost of the LMSW licensing exam and licensing fee.

eligibility – eligibility
Applicants for the LMSW degree and test prep must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least one year of experience in the human services sector, either in New York City or elsewhere, although priority will be given to candidates with more years of experience
  • Be a current employee of an eligible non-profit offering organization
  • They have a written commitment from their organization
  • Applicants for the Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s Scholarships must be New York State residents.
  • Applicants for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree award must have obtained some college credits beforehand.

More details about eligibility are available on the program’s website: www.cuny.edu/hscas.

Key dates and how to find out more
The City University of New York and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development will hold information sessions on these scholarships on June 15 and June 23 for interested applicants. Scholarship applications for the Fall 2021 semester are due by July 2 and applicants will be notified whether they have been awarded on or immediately after July 23.

To learn more about scholarship programs or LMSW exam preparation classes, to register for an information session about scholarship programs, and to apply, visit www.cuny.edu/hscas.

“The human services nonprofit workforce is emerging to our communities every day, risking their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure New Yorkers have food, shelter, and access to vital services,” he said. Michelle Jackson, Executive Director of the Council of Human Services. “The Human Services Career Advancement Scholarship is an important investment in this essential workforce, most of whom are women and people of color, and HSC is pleased to be part of the process of celebrating and upgrading our workers, and thanks the city for creating this opportunity.”

“When New York City families need some help ensuring the well-being of children, the childcare workforce is there for them,” he said. Kathleen Brady Stebbin, President and CEO of the Council of Family and Child Care Agencies. “We owe it to our direct care workers and social workers who are working hard to support them, and that includes supporting their continuing education. We want our workers to succeed so they can ensure that our families succeed.”

“It is encouraging to see the city begin its long-awaited new sector-wide career ladder system that will benefit New York City’s committed and hard-working nonprofit workforce,” Roderick Jenkins, Senior Program Officer, New York Community Trust. “This effort presents a model that has seen workforce financiers operate successfully in other sectors, and should expand in the coming years to add more degrees and provide a more robust ladder of opportunity.”

“Human services workers are the backbone of our city, supporting New Yorkers with access to critical services when needed,” he said. Stephanie Ruiz, Director of Education and Professional Development at LiveOn NY. “This scholarship program creates a path for individuals to advance their careers and move forward in the human services sector. We are proud to support future leaders across the field, who are working to create a better future for New York City.”


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