One of a Kind Workforce Program to Help Black Women in Low Paying Jobs Advance Professionally and Build Wealth.
Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) today announced a new initiative, titled LevelUP, designed to provide Black women in low-paying jobs and underserved communities an opportunity to both advance their careers and build wealth. The comprehensive program will provide mentoring, financial coaching, interviewing, and professional etiquette courses along with career classes in three tracks—real estate, finance, and technology—serving 120 women over a two-year period. The program is supported by a $500,000 grant from Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women initiative.
“The very mission of Brooklyn Public Library is to provide free and equal access to information, so we are especially delighted to partner with Goldman Sachs to provide LevelUP, a program for Black women in Brooklyn to advance professionally and build wealth,” said Arcola Robinson, Program Coordinator, Business and Career Center at Brooklyn Public Library. “Along with the extensive suite of free resources, classes and counseling in BPL’s Business and Career Center, LevelUP will help build a more equitable and a brighter future not just for Black women, but for the entire borough. Providing access to education is a benefit for all of us.”
Driven by a long history of both systematic and individual discrimination in the United States, Black women continue to be disadvantaged in terms of wealth, earnings, and opportunity. Nationwide, a median Black household owns nearly 90% less wealth than the median white household and the gap is slightly larger for single Black women relative to single white men, according to Goldman Sachs research. In Brooklyn, where more than 50% of the population live in low-to-moderate income households, over 50% are female, and nearly 30% are African American or Black, the need for support in leveling up is profound.
“By providing tangible resources to advance Black women’s careers through the LevelUP program, Brooklyn Public Library is ensuring a more equitable path for upward professional mobility. Goldman Sachs is proud to partner with the Brooklyn Public Library, so that more Black women professionals in New York can take that next step in their career, and therefore, increase economic growth in their communities,” said Asahi Pompey, Global Head of Corporate Engagement at Goldman Sachs.
BPL will offer three intensive 10-week (50-hour) program cycles—each focused on a different industry (real estate, technology, and finance). Participants will develop personalized milestone charts and financial plans and those who make progress towards goals will qualify for $500 towards certification or professional development costs. They will also have shadow days with industry mentors and one-on-one sessions with the program lead, mentors and financial coaches from the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) who can provide support both during and after the program.
Participants will also have access to library databases and resources. In addition, they will learn about professional etiquette, including how to network, speak in public, prepare a resume and interview for a job. Each cycle will culminate in an industry-specific career fair.
In addition, BPL will offer Level Up Intensity, a series of four drop-in workforce advancement programs for the broader public, providing a condensed version of the training for participants in the intensive cycles. The free program will include financial coaching, resume counseling, networking, database training, and more.
Interested applicants are encouraged to attend an information session before applying. In addition to learning more about the program, attendees will be able to participate in a preliminary interview with program staff:
Tuesday, July 25
Macon Library, 361 Lewis Avenue
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Monday, July 31
Business and Career Center at Central Library, 10 Grand Army Plaza
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
In addition, on Thursday, August 3, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the public is welcome to drop by for the free Level Up Clinic. Information will be provided on the programs, the three industry tracks and how to apply, with presentations on the hour; one-on-one conversations with LevelUP staff and librarians; and on-the-spot interviews for the program. Participants are encouraged to bring a resume.
Support for LevelUP is provided by the Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women initiative, a groundbreaking investment to positively impact the lives of at least one million Black women by the year 2030.
About Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library is one of the nation’s largest library systems and among New York City’s most democratic institutions. As a leader in developing modern 21st century libraries, we provide resources to support personal advancement, foster civic literacy, and strengthen the fabric of community among the more than 2.7 million individuals who call Brooklyn home. We provide nearly 60,000 free programs a year with writers, thinkers, artists, and educators—from around the corner and around the world. And we give patrons millions of opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest satisfactions: the joy of a good book.
About Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women
In partnership with Black-women-led organizations, financial institutions and other partners, Goldman Sachs has committed $10 billion in direct investment capital and $100 million in philanthropic capital over the next decade to address the dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that Black women have faced for generations, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. The initiative, One Million Black Women, is named for and guided by the goal of impacting the lives of at least one million Black women by 2030. Goldman Sachs’ research Black Womenomics has shown that sustained investments in Black women will catalyze economic growth, making for not only a fairer, but also a richer society.