Just Add One, a year-old jobs expansion program for small businesses at Westchester Community College that is funded by a grant from the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board, last month received the New York State Workforce Program Award from the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals.
The award, presented at the organization’s annual conference in Albany, recognized Just Add One for its collaborative approach that enabled organizers to work effectively with The Business Council of Westchester to identify appropriate businesses to enroll in the program as well as do outreach to volunteer coaches.
The 10-week program at WCC was developed in partnership with the two-county workforce board, The Business Council of Westchester and Community Capital New York, an alternative lender for small businesses. Coordinated by the Valhalla college’s Gateway to Entrepreneurship and Professional Development Center offices, Just Add One provides weekly classes and coaches who work one-on-one with owners of growth-stage businesses on strategies to strengthen their business models and operations and make them more efficient with the goal of helping each business grow and add a new employee. Some businesses retained their coaches after the program ended.
Within six months after completing the program, employers reported that a total of 45 employees had been hired, with some companies adding one employee and others multiple employees, according to WCC officials. Added jobs include a graphic designer, sales staff, project managers, office staff, warehouse employees, electricians, hair stylist, video editor, business development coordinator and solar energy system installer.
“We are proud of this recognition for an initiative which truly fits into our mission as a community college,” college President Belinda S. Miles said. “The college prides itself on its involvement in workforce development. The Just Add One project has proven to be a successful team effort.”
Donnovan Beckford, director of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board, said the initiative “has validated the significant impact that efficiently run small businesses and properly trained entrepreneurs can have in preserving and creating employment opportunities.”
Applications are being accepted for the next Just Add One program that starts in January at WCC businesses. Businesses with a growth goal that enables them to hire at least one employee are eligible. The program cost is $300.
For more information, contact Romina Ganopolsky, of the Westchester Community College, Gateway Center, at 914-606-5685 or firstname.lastname@example.org.