Just before the pandemic hit New York City, The Bridge Fund launched the Income Growth Initiative to help prepare our unemployed and underemployed clients for the new economy.

A worker is UNEMPLOYED if they are actively seeking a paid job but cannot find one.
A worker is UNDEREMPLOYED if they are:

  • High-skilled employees with low-skilled jobs
  • Part-time workers who want full-time employment
  • Skilled workers receiving low wages

Many of our clients facing eviction were struggling to find stable, well-paying jobs. Even those who had jobs were finding it difficult to log enough work hours to meet their rising rents. Some were spending more than half their income to meet this expense. The Bridge Fund’s proven homelessness prevention efforts were expanded to address this need for growth in income even before the Covid crisis.
Today, with the easing of Covid restrictions, the rate of unemployment has fallen. But often full-time jobs do not provide a living wage or offer the possibility of growth or promotion. And underemployment worsened during the pandemic, especially among young workers and those nearing retirement. Helping as many needy and motivated clients as possible increase their incomes and their job and home-life satisfaction is the ultimate goal of the Income Growth Initiative. The benefits of achieving this goal are not limited to our clients or program. The positive outcomes extend to employers and the communities where our diverse clients reside.

How to Grow an Income?

The Bridge Fund provides comprehensive services tailored to an individual’s needs and goals.

Education: We have developed relationships with LaGuardia Community College and other area schools, to help clients acquire or improve skills needed for today’s jobs in fields with growth potential.

Job Training: We make expert referrals to quality job training programs like Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center, First Step, Grace Institute, and others. Plus, we monitor our clients’ progress and regularly consult with these sources.

Help Finding Employment: Clients wishing to find a job are given guidance in improving their resumes and interviewing skills, plus advice and assistance on conducting effective job searches.

Managing Finances: All receive budget counseling, monitoring and encouragement to stay the course. Modest financial assistance for tuition, books and transportation may be provided. Also, short-term rent subsidies for a select number of highly motivated clients demonstrating need and a strong commitment to completing their coursework and improving their financial futures.

Proven Results: The Income Growth Initiative team, led by Jeffrey Ramos, has formally served more than 365 clients. Several have enrolled in educational programs, found renewed employment or secured job promotions. The vast majority report being more optimistic about the future!

Outcome   Number of Clients
Enrolled in IGP-recommended job training programs   148
Secured new employment or earned promotion at work   51
Are pursuing associate degrees thanks, in part, to IGP   71
Were stabilized in their housing (with employment, promotion, or strategic budgeting)   106
Report increased satisfaction due to improved earnings, job responsibilities, medical benefits, ability to work remotely or reduced commuting time.   270 (74%)

Emily’s Success Story

Emily Martinez is a young Bridge Fund client who is now, thankfully, on track to further her education and improve her earnings potential while safely remaining in her rent stabilized apartment. Last year, Ms. Martinez’s work hours as a store clerk in Washington Heights were temporarily reduced from full-time to only 15 hours per week. By the time she learned about The Bridge Fund, she had been laid-off and had exhausted her very modest state unemployment benefits. The absence of any income caused Ms. Martinez to fall behind in her rent payments. In fact, at the time of her application to our program, she owed her landlord $3,400, and only had a fraction of this amount to contribute. She needed a job and immediate financial help.

The following chart shows how she was helped.

Income Growth Initiative Action Plan and Results

Emily will continue to receive career advisement services and monitoring from The Bridge Fund. She is now more hopeful about her future and recently served as a bi-lingual Peer Consultant, co-conducting a Zoom workshop for other Bridge Fund clients wishing to explore job training programs and experiencing the same challenges that she had.

If you need a success story of your own with help in improving job skills, finding a better job or a promotion, and planning for your future, EMAIL Jeffrey Ramos at The Bridge Fund of New York Inc.

Help us fund the Income Growth Initiative to help more motivated New Yorkers who are striving to improve their lives through work. To DONATE to the Income Growth Initiative, EMAIL The BridgeFund.