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New "LINK" Initiative Connects Low-Income New Yorkers with Economic Opportunities


Today, Mayor Bloomberg and NYCEDC announced the “LINK” Initiative (Leveraging Innovations and our Neighborhoods in the Knowledge economy), eight new programs designed to connect low-income New Yorkers with opportunities in the city’s knowledge economy. 

These programs are designed to strengthen the skills and employability of New Yorkers with low incomes and to foster business activity that provides employment opportunities for those with less formal training, helping to alleviate key challenges that prevent many from moving up the economic ladder. The LINK Initiative aims to increase opportunities for New Yorkers across the five boroughs.

“The eight pilot programs we are announcing today share a single goal: ensuring that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to succeed in the knowledge economy. The LINK initiative will increase access to employment opportunities and provide training that will enable low-income New Yorkers to secure jobs in growing sectors that are critical to New York City’s 21st century economy.” - NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky

NYCEDC is working with partners, including the Human Resources Administration, the Center for Economic Opportunity and Small Business Services, who will assist in implementing pilots of eight initiatives that make up LINK: 

  • LEAP, “Learn as you Earn” Advancement Program: Seeks to increase the employability of Associate’s degree and Certificate program candidates in the knowledge economy through paid work experience combined with workplace-relevant classroom learning. The program will focus on in-demand occupations and will seek to improve graduation/completion rates at community colleges.
  • Immigrant Bridge Program: A program to increase the earnings potential of unemployed or underemployed, foreign-trained immigrants with advanced degrees and in-demand skills (e.g., accounting, engineering, medicine), by helping them create individualized career plans, providing them with soft skills training, and assisting with the job search process. Participants also have access to a microloan opportunity to receive $1,000 – $10,000 loans for educational and/or general personal expenses incurred while pursuing a higher-paid, technical job.
  • DigitalWork NYC: Targets young adults ages 16-26 who are neither in school nor working to increase awareness of online work opportunities that allow participants to earn money completing digital tasks (e.g., transcription, image tagging, etc.), build an employment history, and create a pathway to digital employment.
  • Jobs and Economic Mobility Track in NYC BigApps: Aims to create innovative “apps” to improve the lives of disadvantaged New Yorkers via technology platforms. The program will initially focus on the development of mobile applications relating to workforce opportunities (e.g., job listings) and worker support services (e.g., childcare, healthcare, transit, etc.).
  • NYC Business Innovation Challenge: A five-borough, dual-round competition that challenges businesses, service-providers and community groups to unlock the potential in NYC’s workforce and neighborhoods by incentivizing businesses to invest in their employees.
  • Vacant Lot Activation Program: Will put long-term vacant city-owned land to productive use through a variety of alternative and temporary uses. The pilot will focus on an area in Brownsville and East New York.
  • PROGRESS Networks: Develops consortia of small- to medium-sized business enterprises to leverage economies of scale so as to lower the cost of doing business or investing in workers. Lower costs and/or higher revenues will allow firms to provide enhanced worker benefits and services and hire more workers.
  • LIFT Entrepreneurship: Supports low-income entrepreneurs as they start and grow businesses by providing business incubator space, technical support, access to loans, and partnerships with local anchor institutions. The first of two LIFT sites will be located in the Norwood/Fordham area in the Bronx.

Learn more about these new programs at



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