collage of men and woman headshots

The Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board (WPWDB) recently held its 2021 Annual Meeting where it “kicked-off” the Westchester-Putnam Pathways Pledge campaign, modeled after the NYS Pathways Pledge initiated by the Reimagine NY Commission. It is a year-long campaign with the goal to create awareness of the steps employers and educators can take to create a more inclusive workforce and expand career pathway opportunities for those traditionally underserved. For this collaboration to work, both public and private-sector employers and educational institutions are being asked to take steps towards reforming their talent recruitment, updating curriculum, implementing training, and changing promotion policies to foster more career path opportunities. The action pledge takes only a few minutes and is simple to do.

In addition, the WPWDB has announced that they will receive support for this important year-long initiative from Westfair Communications, publishers of The Westchester Business Journal. The goal of the partnership is to bring greater attention and visibility to the importance of the Pathways Pledge and to encourage more employers to sign on to the year-long initiative.

To date 19 organizations have made the action pledge:

  1. Bonnie Ball, Mount Vernon School District
  2. Jan Fisher, Nonprofit Westchester
  3. Alyson Trudeau, Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES
  4. Teresita Wisell, Westchester Community College
  5. Terry Kirchner, Westchester Library System
  6. Sherry Bruck, Harquin Creative Group
  7. Joanne Dunn, Youth Shelter Program of Westchester
  8. Deb Milone, Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce
  9. Maureen Jacobson, Candela Systems Corporation
  10. Allison Madison, Madison Approach Staffing
  11. Wiley Harrison, BYB—Business of Your Business
  12. David Singer, Robison Energy
  13. Robert Sanders, Hospitality Resource Group, Inc.
  14. James Schutzer, JDM Benefits, An Alera Group Company
  15. Jason Chapin, The Westchester County Association, Inc.
  16. Cosette Gutierrez, Latino U College Access (LUCA)
  17. Dr. Marsha Gordon, The Business Council of Westchester
  18. Laurence Gottlieb, Robert Martin Company

Additionally thirteen businesses from Westchester and Rockland were inducted into the Pathways Pledge as a result of their commitment to hiring individuals with Disabilities. As October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), ACCES-VR held its annual event on October 8th, presenting awards to employers who were nominated for their inclusive hiring practices. Thom Kleiner made virtual certificate presentations to those companies. View the full presentation.

NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. The theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The thirteen NDEAM awardees being inducted into Pathways Pledge are:

  1. Cambria Hotel White Plains, White Plains, NY
  2. Scarsdale Library, Scarsdale, NY
  3. Westchester Independent Living Center, White Plains, NY
  4. Walgreens, Thornwood, NY
  5. Walgreens, Eastchester, NY
  6. Walgreens, Yonkers, NY
  7. Meals on Wheels, Yonkers, NY
  8. Bark and Purr, Yonkers, NY
  9. St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Yonkers, NY
  10. ShopRite, Pearl River, NY
  11. M.A.D.E. Transitional Services, Spring Valley, NY
  12. Stony Point Conference Center, Stony Point, NY
  13. Society of the Arts (SOTA), West Haverstraw, NY

Westchester County Executive George Latimer explained, “2020 illuminated many systemic issues in our counties, including the labor shortage in the trades, the untapped workforce of those with barriers to employment, diversity inequities, the skills gap and educational shortcomings. These issues permeate every institution at every level and the only way to achieve significant change is for each of us to commit to taking small and large actions within our respective organizations and communities. Under the Pathways Pledge, we’re asking for a commitment from 250 employers and 50 educators as part of a year-long campaign.”

WPWDB Executive Director, Thom Kleiner said, “We thank those who have already made a pledge and hope you will help us spread the word. It's really easy to sign up, it takes only about three to five minutes, and it’s really easy to demonstrate success. Those that make the “pledge” can sign on to a variety of actions that fit their organization. Our goal is to spend the next year creating awareness that we can all take some form of action that will strengthen our county’s economy and workforce.”

Register a business or nonprofit for the Pathways Pledge in Westchester or Putnam.

Media materials: printer-friendly flier:

Make a Pathways Pledge