Queens, NY — A ground-breaking space created to encourage, help and support young people to follow their dreams will be dedicated on October 25, 2022 at 4:30 pm. The state of the art facility is housed in the historic T-Building in Jamaica, Queens. The building was originally used as the municipal tuberculosis sanatorium; it merged with Queens General Hospital in the 1950s, and was converted into a general hospital in the 1970s. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in January 2019. Dunn Development Corp. undertook the renovation to transform the former hospital into a 200-unit affordable housing community.
Commonpoint Queens undertook an extensive needs assessment by surveying over 4,000 SYEP participants, interviewing 10 Queens High School Principals, speaking with community board members, and having our ear to the ground in Queens for over six decades. Through this research, we believe that this space will be an innovative and transformational center so desperately needed by our young people.
The Youth Opportunity Hub is founded on the premise that entrepreneurial thinking in adolescents and young adults is a key driver in developing responsibility, integrity, intellectual curiosity, passion, judgment, and focus. In addition, entrepreneurship is proven to foster innovation and economic growth. The Youth Hub will be focused on cultivating critical and innovative thinking, broadening the interests of neuro-diverse young people ages 14-24, and providing individualized support services.
The transition to adulthood can be particularly difficult for low-income, minority, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, and special needs adolescents and young adults. Our program aims to provide wraparound social services that include food, legal, and financial support, mental health counseling, and “soft skills” training; like reliability and working well with others. These skills will help address the barriers that may hinder participants from successful completion of the program and into stable employment that pays a living wage and offers the opportunity for advancement.
In the Youth Hub participants will be able to immerse themselves in our culinary arts program, fitness, creative arts, sound engineering studio, and training lab. They will be trained in back-of-house and front-of-house skills, gain real-world experience, confidence in a public-facing environment, and the ability to move into a range of careers, all while being fully supported on their journey.
Our full-range of services and resources will be offered to the whole community, with many led by the youth we serve. Young people don’t heal in isolation and we know that true healing is multi-generational. What happens at the Opportunity Hub will be determined and driven by the youth who use it. You’ll find our community cafe at the center of the Hub, operated by Culinary Arts participants. Down the hall you’ll find an exercise class, specializing in arthritis for Older Adults – led by young people training to become certified in fitness and personal training. Both parents and college students can receive employment counseling and job placement services, customized to meet their different needs.
By the Numbers (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022)
This past school year we provided 2543 students with programs;
Of those students
98% of students enrolled in our academic, college access, and mental health support programming graduated from High School in four years exceeding the 4-year graduation rate of New York City which is 82%.
80% of our graduates enrolled in college or career planning as opposed to the 58% enrollment rate of NYC high school graduates.
3,908 young people ages 14-22 enrolled in Summer Youth Employment Program (FY23 has 5,300 enrollees).
100% of our enrolled SYEP students/interns participated in financial literacy training. Post training, 60% of the students opened a bank account. By the end of the calendar year, the average participant has saved 35 percent of their summer salary exceeding the city average by 15%.
In the past 12 months at our Silver Employment Hub
3,000 unique individuals were enrolled for services.
60% of job seekers are placed in full-time employment.
Job retention rates: 70% at 90 days; 60% at 180 days, and 50% at one-year.
460 vocational certifications earned.
15,000 unique individuals utilizing our digital food pantry.
275 Opportunity Youth (defined as students who have disengaged from HS and/or out of school and not working) served.
Of the 100 youth who participated in GED/HSE classes, 59 received their GED/HSE diploma exceeding the NYC GED pass rate of 35%.
Within the first year, 204 participants received a vocational credential, 112 were placed in full-time employment, and 9 continued on to college.
The Youth Opportunity Hub will provide support in the development of post-secondary plans related to college, and career topics will encourage student inquiry in various areas including essential college readiness skills, financial literacy education, and career exploration. By receiving individualized support, the youth engaged in the program will have opportunities to receive resources that are catered to their interests. This experience will reinforce the importance of self-determination and create a clear pathway that builds students’ capacity to navigate external challenges and opportunities while working towards their goals.
Participants will be trained in back-of-house and front-of-house skills, gain real-world experience, confidence in a public-facing environment, and the ability to move into a range of careers, all while being fully supported on their journey. We project that the on-site kitchen/café and fitness studio will be self-sustaining within 3-years through earned revenue from our two on-site cafés, contract meal, and catering services, and providing fitness classes for the community.
To learn more about the Youth Opportunity Hub, contact Judy Vladimir, Vice President of Development at Commonpoint Queens (718) 225-6750 x345 or [email protected].