FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 16, 2013
NYC Parks, In Partnership With National Park Service, Launches Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps
NYC Parks, in partnership with the National Park Service, today announced the launch of the Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps. With funds from a National Emergency Grant through the U.S. and NYS Departments of Labor and with recruitment assistance from the NYC Department of Small Business Services’ Workforce1 Career Centers, approximately 200 workers were hired to assist in the clean-up, restoration, and reconstruction of Jamaica Bay and Rockaway Parks - including areas that sustained serious damage from Hurricane Sandy. The New York City Workforce1 Career Center system provides the City’s adult workforce and businesses with a full array of employment and recruitment services including one-on-one appointments with jobseekers to review their resume, screen for jobs, and match candidates with available jobs. The Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps combines field work with on-the-job training in technical and professional development areas to enhance the productivity of workers in the field. Jobs are full time for six months and pay $11.11 per hour. At today’s event, NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White joined the National Park Service in greeting new members of the Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps as they cleaned Hurricane Sandy debris from the Aviation Road waterfront area of Floyd Bennett Field.
“Jamaica Bay is one of New York City’s richest ecological open spaces and the Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps will help ensure its recovery from damages inflicted by Hurricane Sandy as well as the long-term preservation of its natural areas,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “We are grateful to our partnership with the National Park Service, National Emergency Grant funds through the New York State Department of Labor, and recruitment assistance from Workforce1 and the New York City Department of Small Business Services that helped make this initiative a reality.”
"This program is a wonderful way for New Yorkers to discover the wonders of Jamaica Bay, and the phenomenal natural resources and recreational opportunities available in their backyard,” said Superintendant of the Gateway National Recreation Area Linda Canzanelli.
“Using its expertise in recruitment and hiring, Workforce1 teamed up with NYC Parks to put New Yorkers back to work and help the City continue to recover from Hurricane Sandy,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Thanks to Parks and the NYS Department of Labor’s National Emergency Grant, more than 200 New Yorkers will be reporting back to work this month.”
The Jamaica Bay/Rockaway Parks Restoration Corps members primarily work outdoors in a team based environment. Tasks include:
• Working with NYC Parks’ Natural Resources Group and Natural Area Volunteers to restore natural areas, woodlands, wetlands, and parkland in and around the Jamaica Bay Area;
• Community outreach and educational efforts including needs surveys, customer satisfaction assessments, and interventions for residents of surrounding areas;
• Removal of tree debris, tree care, and potential new tree planting;
• Trail creation and restoration;
• Removal of wood, metals, docks, concrete, housing, boats, and other inorganic floatables from the sand areas in Jamaica Bay;
• Enhancing skills in technical and professional development areas.
In July 2012, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed an unprecedented agreement between the City of New York and the National Park Service – spelling out ways to cooperatively manage 10,000 acres of federal and city-owned parks in and around Jamaica Bay to promote visitation, education programs, scientific research and recreational opportunities. This innovative new partnership will serve to better connect urban communities to the natural beauty and history of Gateway National Recreation Area and adjacent city park lands by allowing NYC Parks and the National Park Service to work on each other’s property, comingle resources and undertake joint planning.