Immigrant Bridge Program

A message from Elena Mayer regarding the Immigrant Bridge Program:

Good morning,

My name is Elena Mayer; I work on the LINK pilot initiatives at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. This suite of programs, being launched this fall, aims to better connect low-income residents and neighborhoods to emerging opportunities in the New York City economy.

I’m writing specifically to let you know about two RFPs we released this week for a new pilot program called the Immigrant Bridge Program. The goal of the Program is to help high-skill, unemployed or underemployed immigrants in NYC to obtain gateway jobs in their field of expertise. Our classic example is the engineer from Belarus who is today stocking shelves at a grocery store, who for a variety of reasons is unable to attach to the labor market in a job that utilizes his engineering training. Our program model combines two pieces: first, a case management, career plan development, and soft-skills training component that will arm participants with the appropriate next steps and necessary job search capabilities–the “Workforce Program.” Second, we will connect participants to microloan opportunities from a partnered “Loan Fund,” to help them cover the cost of any necessary classes, accreditation fees, or general costs incurred as they pursue their career plan (e.g., childcare, transit, etc.). Our analysis suggests that these low-income immigrants stand to increase their annual incomes by $15-30K through successful completion of the program.

We welcome proposals  for both of these two RFP opportunities. The links to download the RFP documents can be found here:

Immigrant Bridge Workforce Program RFP

Immigrant Bridge Loan Fund RFP

Below are some relevant dates to note:

Workforce Program

·         Optional information session: Thursday, September 6that 2:30pm, NYCEDC, 110 William Street, Conference Room 4A/B

·         RFP Submission Deadline: Friday, September 28thby 4:00pm

Loan Fund

·         Optional information session: Tuesday, September 11that 9:30am, NYCEDC, 110 William Street, Conference Room 4A/B

·         RFP Submission Deadline: Friday, September 28thby 4:00pm

If you have any questions broadly about the Immigrant Bridge program concept, please feel free to reach out to me ([email protected];212-312-3561). If you have any questions specific to the RFPs, please direct your inquiries to[email protected]or[email protected](respectively).

I look forward to your proposals, and to being in touch with you about this opportunity.



“On the Menu for Asian Pacific Heritage Month: Two Career Perspectives and Tables of Delicious Fare”

In honor of May as Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the Diversity Committee hosted a dialogue and lunch reception last week with Peggy Kuo, General Counsel for the City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, and Alan Chang, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs for the New York Yankees.

Mr. Chang, who grew up in Queens, began his legal career as a litigator in Los Angeles before joining cable sports giant ESPN. A longtime Yankees fan, he recalled telling his wife that ESPN was his “number two dream job,” with the Yankees occupying the top spot. Two years into his role at ESPN, Mr. Chang learned that the Yankees were seeking an attorney with cable sports news experience. He had just bought a home and was feeling settled, but the job was an opportunity he felt he couldn’t pass up.

“And 13 years later, they can’t trade me,” he joked. “I feel like I found my dream job.” When he joined the team, Mr. Chang was one of just four Asian-American attorneys in Major League Baseball (one of whom worked for the Mets). He has done significant work on a Yankees cable television venture and the team’s new Bronx stadium. “It’s never boring,” he said.

Ms. Kuo cited the importance of her City roots. Her father, an immigrant from Taiwan in the 1960s, worked for the Department of Environmental Protection for 44 years, where he designed sewers for the City, and Ms. Kuo was a product of the City’s public school system. Unlike her father, however, she was eager to explore many different careers.

“I have a curious mind, a restless spirit, and no aversion to risk taking,” she said. “Opportunities come up, and you have to be ready to take them.”

Following law school, she pursued trial work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “It’s a job I would have done for free,” she said. Years later, she was getting settled into Washington, D.C. and about to buy a home, when she learned of the chance to prosecute crimes stemming from the war in Yugoslavia. Ms. Kuo journeyed to The Hague, where she prosecuted the only mass-rape case in Bosnia, as well as a torture and murder case against a camp commander.

Her return to New York four years later felt like a homecoming. “I always think of the City like a family,” she said. After work in private practice and with the New York Stock Exchange, she took her present role at OATH (which involved an interview with the Corp. Counsel.)

During the Q&A, Mr. Chang and Ms. Kuo were asked what qualities they feel their cultural and ethnic backgrounds contribute to their respective legal careers.

Mr. Chang said that he felt his background lent him an increased sense of cultural sensitivity and understanding that could be applied to the Yankees’ diverse fanbase.

Ms. Kuo noted, “I can see things from more than one viewpoint. My mom struggles with English, and when I was making arguments to the jury, I’d, in my mind, be making those arguments to my mom. I’d say, ‘Would my mom understand this?’”

Editor’s Note: The discussion was complemented by two tables of delicious food. Thanks to the Asian American Bar Association of New York, the South Asian Bar Association of New York, and the Korean American Bar Association of Greater New York, which graciously provided the refreshments.

Thanks also to Andrea Chan, William Ng, Tanisha Byron, Stuart Smith, Michael Wasser, and Raju Sundaran of the Diversity Committee – and Lisa Forrester-Campos, Stephen Kim, Keith Miloscia, Connie Pankratz, Madhu Parthasarathy, Liza Sohn, Peter Tsai, and Gloria Yi.

-NYC Law Department, HEARSAY

– reprinted with permission from NYC Law Dept

NYC Bar – Women of Color Workshop: Communicate for Impact

NYC Bar – Women of Color Workshop: Communicate for Impact