Governor Cuomo Announces 14 Programs to Receive $5.5 Million to Help At-Risk Youth and Combat Gang Violence

Funding Includes $1 Million Investment in Long Island to Combat MS-13 Violence; $4.5 Million to Support Upstate Youth in Improving Workforce Skills and Avoiding Crime

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 14 programs that provide at-risk youth with alternatives to gang involvement will receive $5.5 million in funding for workforce and educational development programs across the state through the Workforce Development Demonstration Project. Youth who are significantly behind in basic skills will receive help in obtaining their high school diploma, state equivalency credential or will be engaged in post-secondary school. Occupational skills training will be offered in the building trades, service industry trades, information technology, health care and maintenance. Governor Cuomo announced this program in his 2019 State of the State address.

“New York will not stand idly by as gangs prey on young people in our communities which is why we are taking an all levers approach to keeping our kids safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “These comprehensive programs will provide critical educational and employment opportunities to at-risk youth, offering them a positive alternative to participating in the scourge of gang violence.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “The Assembly Majority is committed to combatting the spread of gang violence by ensuring at risk youth have access to opportunities and positive alternatives that encourage community engagement and personal growth. This funding will help bring education and work opportunities to our youth that will steer them down a better path and help them make valuable contributions to our communities.”

“At a time of horrific shootings and lives lost across the country, we’re continuing our commitment to ensuring the safety of all New Yorkers,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “By investing millions of dollars in programs and resources we can combat gang violence and protect our young people. We will not tolerate any form of hate or violence in our state, and we stand together in our efforts to protect the lives of children and families in communities across New York.”

The funds are being awarded on a competitive basis to not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions and government entities to provide alternative programming and services, such as education, occupational skills training, employment services and leadership development. They will engage the youth in their communities to prevent them from falling prey to gang recruiters or pursuing other negative activities that may result in justice system involvement.

The awarded programs will target and serve youth aged 16-24 who have dropped out of school, are unemployed, are involved in the justice system, are aging out of foster care, are gang-involved or at-risk of gang-involvement and other disadvantaged youth.

This holistic approach will help curb gang-related violence and, most importantly, address the factors that lead youth to gang activity in the first place. Specifically, these services will connect vulnerable youth with essential life and job skills needed to build a career and contribute to their communities.

Michael C. Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, said, “At the Division, we are committed to enhancing public safety through resources and services that improve the entire criminal justice system.  By implementing proven strategies, we have worked with our local partners and community-based organizations to promote positive behavior, reduce violence, and save lives. These new developmental programs will provide much-needed, critical support to at-risk youth so they can change their path – and their communities – by pursuing education and employment.”

The funds were awarded on a competitive basis to the following non-profit, government, and charitable organizations:


Organizations Awarded By Region
Long Island
United Way of Long Island
Eastern Suffolk BOCES
Hudson Valley
Rockland BOCES
Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board, Inc.
The Chamber Foundation, Inc.
Ulster Youthbuild, LLC
Capital Region
Social Enterprise and Training Center
Social Enterprise and Training Center
Social Enterprise and Training Center
Schenectady County: The Pathways and Opportunities to Success Program
Central New York
Syracuse Employment and School Opportunity Network (SEASON) Program
Finger Lakes
Urban League of Rochester, NY Inc.
Pathstone Corporation
The Service Collaborative of WNY, Inc.