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RochesterWorks initiative aims to reduce gun violence through workforce development

RochesterWorks! has launched a $2.25 million gun violence prevention initiative that is designed to provide job opportunities for hundreds of Rochester young adults.

The region’s largest nonprofit provider of workforce and career services is looking for community organizations to help implement the program. The initiative is funded by the state Department of Labor and is part of a multi-phased state strategy to use workforce development programs to reduce gun violence.

“Providing pathways to job opportunities is one of the best resources we have in the fight against the recent uptick in gun violence. We are grateful for this opportunity provided by the state to make a difference through effective workforce development strategies,” said RochesterWorks Executive Director Dave Seeley in a statement. “This program will only be successful if we are able to garner widespread community support to engage our youth and provide the support services necessary to keep them in these effective workforce programs, with the end goal being a permanent job. We are excited to solicit the support of the many good forces trying to bring about positive change in Rochester.”

The Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) program will serve unemployed, underemployed and out-of-school youths aged 18 to 24. Three-quarters of the participants will reside in one of nine priority Zip codes identified by the Department of Labor.

“I am proud to advocate for these resources at the state level which will support our young people early in their career journeys. RochesterWorks! is focused on creating employment resources for young people at a time when our community needs it most,” said state Sen. Jeremy Cooney, a Rochester native and representative for the state’s 56th District. “It is my hope that organizations throughout Rochester will seek these funds and do the work on behalf of the youth of our city. As we recover from the pandemic, access to training and educational opportunities is essential so that the future leaders of Rochester have the skills needed to compete in new industries and help our region grow.”

Current Youth Navigator programs implementing youth employment services on behalf of RochesterWorks under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) will be provided resources to enhance their outreach and services. The GVP program also will invite nonprofit community- or faith-based organizations and units of local government to apply to provide outreach and recruitment services, workforce preparation services or both. An informational session will be held for potential partners on Oct. 7th at the Gantt Community Center. Interested organizations can register at

“It’s critical that we help connect at-risk youth with employment opportunities so we can steer them toward a life of prosperity and positive choices,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “I am grateful to Dave Seeley and his team at RochesterWorks! for implementing this initiative and give special thanks to New York state for funding this vital program.”

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