HOPE students and graduates celebrated successful completion of training and internships, new jobs, career advancement and brighter futures
On Tuesday, June 23, The HOPE Program was joined by hundreds of HOPE students, graduates and community members for their 30th Anniversary Graduation Ceremony. Steven Banks, Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration gave the keynote address. Special guests included Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams and New York City Councilmember for the 33rd District, Stephen Levin.
The HOPE Program is a leading workforce development organization serving men and women facing significant challenges throughout New York City. HOPE ranks in the top 20 percent of organizations nationwide with regard to long-term job retention. The organization has recently received the Macquarie Group Foundation’s inaugural David Clarke Fellowship in the United States, Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builder Award and the New York Association for Training and Employment Professionals Workforce Program Award.
“Graduation is my favorite night of the year. Our students and graduates have faced so many roadblocks – cycles of poverty, histories of incarceration, substance abuse and homelessness, including long gaps in employment, but tonight, we celebrate their persistence, their grit, and their determination to set a new course for their lives,” said Jennifer Mitchell, HOPE’s Executive Director. “We are celebrating their futures. The presence of our government officials on this occasion reflects the importance of this success not only to our graduates and their families, but to our entire community.”
Keynote speaker, Human Resources Administration commissioner, Steven Banks said, “The HOPE Program provides knowledge and experience through skills training to empower individuals to obtain employment and build sustainable careers leading to financial independence. I am proud to join HOPE graduates as they embark on bright futures and continued success.”
Steve Levin echoed these remarks. “The HOPE Program proves that with support and access to training and education, New Yorkers can overcome the most trying of circumstances to achieve fulfilling careers and stability for their families. I applaud this year’s graduates for their inspiring success and courage in the face of adversity.”
HOPE graduates were awarded for completing internships, securing jobs and reaching job retention milestones of 90 days, one year and three years. Special awards included: HOPE’s Referral Partner Award to Odyssey House; Award for Advancement in Computer Skills to Christopher Guevara; the Carol Shen Award for Academic Excellence to Anderson Tavares; and the Board of Directors’ Award for Career Advancement to Tiffany Womber.
Roger Duran, a 26 year-old man who was once facing up to five years in prison, received an award for one year of job retention. “HOPE taught me how to use the skills I learned on the street positively. I learned how to sell my strengths instead of selling drugs,” said Duran.