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NEW YORK, NY – The NYC Business Solutions Bronx Center was the selected venue to host the 5000TH M/WBE Certified Award.

The event featured an address by Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Director of the City’s M/WBE Program, and Jonnel Doris – Senior Advisor at the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE.

Deputy Mayor Buery presented the 5000th M/WBE Certification award and Mayor Bill De Blasio’s personal letter of congratulations to Bronx Small Business Owner Miguel Cabrera of MC Transportation. Deputy Mayor Buery addressed the gathering and shared highlights from Mayor De Blasio’s goals for the M/WBE program.

Mr. Cabrera was assisted by Courtney Williams, Account Manager at the NYC Business Solutions Bronx Center to submit his certification application. He gave a brief overview of his journey to business ownership, and expressed his appreciation for the invaluable service he received at the Bronx Center. This sentiment was echoed by 12 other businesses who received their M/WBE certification through the assistance of the Bronx Center.

Also celebrating this award were Deputy Commissioner Deputy Kim Hardy – Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity, Deputy Commissioner Melanie Hart – Workforce Division, Yahaira Fuentes Director, BSC Center Operations, and Doug Cotter, President, Grant Associates.




NEW YORK, NY – Grant Associates, a nationally acclaimed workforce development company, announced today that one of the most respected leaders in the field, Marléna Sessions, will be joining on July 5th as Vice President of Public and Private Partnerships.

In her new role, Ms. Sessions will engage with national leaders around some of the most pressing issues facing local economies today, with the intent of creating new solutions to strengthen our communities.

Doug Cotter, President, said, “We are thrilled to have Marléna joining our team, after having admired and respected the work she has done for many years. As Grant Associates continues to grow and learn as an organization, Marléna’s breadth of experience and passion for this work will be an invaluable asset in shaping solutions that effect positive change in the lives of the customers we serve.”

Ms. Sessions said, “Grant Associates has an amazing story to tell, with over two decades of experience trailblazing innovative solutions, and successfully running and growing large workforce programs. I’ve long been a fan,and I’m excited to be coming aboard at such a critical time in our industry.”Marlena Sessions

As CEO of the Workforce Development Councilof Seattle-King County since 2009, Marléna Sessions has guided Seattle-King County to national prominence as an innovative leader in job training initiatives. The Working for America Institute named the organization one of the top four workforce boards in the U.S. The Council was also one of the inaugural winners of the National Association of Workforce Board’s 2016 WIOA trailblazer award.

Marléna is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO), and a member of the Washington Workforce Association, serving on its Executive committee for several years. She also served on the Opportunity Center for Employment and Education (OCE&E) Policy Committee. She was the 2013 president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, and continues to serve on its board of trustees. Marléna also founded the National Advisory Group for Connecting Homeless Jobseekers to the workforce system, and has offered expert testimony to Congress.

Marléna holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Whitworth University.

CONTACT: Michael Levy
Director of Strategic Partnerships
(646) 358-4555


NEW YORK, NY – Grant Associates, a nationally acclaimed workforce development company, is celebrating the milestone of 20 years of providing collaborative professional services to businesses and jobseekers in partnership with government and community organizations.

Since collaboration has been the cornerstone of the company’s strategy for success, it is proud to introduce a technology, Symphony Notes™, which will allow all of a community’s resources to work together in a strategic way to advance customer outcomes.

Incorporated in 1997 as a Women-Owned Small Business, Grant Associates has operated award-winning business services and employment & training programs under government contracts in Detroit, Newark, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Tulsa, Montgomery County, MD, and New York City. In 2016 alone, 12,000 of the company’s customers found work, bringing almost $300 million in income to the communities served.

Executive Chair and Co-Founder Dale Grant said, “We pioneered a lot of strategies that are now common practice – like demand-driven approaches that start with local business needs, sector strategies that align employment services with local economic development priorities, and the innovative use of technology to measure outcomes and continually improve customer service. SymphonyNotes™ is the natural next step in our work.”

Doug Cotter, President, added, “We are proud of the impact that we and our partners have had on hundreds of thousands of people’s lives, and that we have been active across the whole spectrum of national workforce development – from helping people below the poverty line become financially independent, to helping veterans learn new skill sets, to helping entrepreneurs launch small businesses.”

Tracking customer activities and outcomes, SymphonyNotes™ is a platform for collaboration that informs organizations and funders on the activities that produce the best results relative to cost. Using artificial intelligence, SymphonyNotes™ will also be able translate the data it collects into action. “We are excited about how this product can change our work. It will allow us to further a ‘No Wrong Door’ approach as a foundation of workforce development, and support career pathways in the most direct way,” said Cotter.

Melinda Mulawka Mack, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals, said, “I have had the pleasure of working with Grant Associates in several capacities over the past 15 years – as a partner, contractor and now as a member. They have always been on the forefront of workforce development, specifically bringing organizations and businesses together to collaboratively solve persistent workforce challenges. Cheers to 20 years of success, and to 20 more!”

In addition to the introduction of SymphonyNotes™, Grant Associates recently launched a program to build business engagement in NYC Career & Technical Education (CTE) Schools, and next month will be launching four new programs with the NYC Human Resources Administration to help people on public assistance.

CONTACT: Michael Levy
Director of Strategic Partnerships
(646) 358-4555

ITC’s Deputy Director Participates in Policy and Advocacy Academy

Chris Wingert, center, with the NYC cohort on graduation day.


chris wingert picCongratulations to Chris Wingert, Deputy Director of the Grant-operated Workforce1 Industrial and Transportation Career Center, who participated in a three-month Policy and Advocacy Academy hosted by the Albany-based New York Association of Training and Education Professionals (NYATEP).


The annual Academy brings together workforce professionals from New York City and Upstate New York to engage in advocacy-focused seminars, activities and legislative visits at the state and local level.

Each cohort from the city and Upstate region was divided into smaller teams to develop a group position paper and advocacy strategy on a topic they felt passionate about. Once a topic was finalized, the teams identified the problem, determined why it mattered, developed the “ask,” and created a final policy statement and dissemination strategy.

Chris’s team, which included three other participants from nonprofit organizations in the city, determined that many companies wishing to use the wealth of data collected by the government and other private organizations have trouble doing so effectively.

The team concluded that two of the challenges companies generally have when sifting through data include:

  • Capacity: staff with limited knowledge and the skills to find, analyze and report on data.
  • Time: the need to know where to get specific labor market data at a moment’s notice.

Organizations typically need labor market data that is relevant to their mission or to a particular project. The data may at times need to be granular, for example: employment rates specifically for those within a certain zip code and who have only a high school diploma.

“There is a lot of labor market data available and it’s overwhelming,” Chris said. “It’s difficult for organizations to know exactly which tools to use to find out specific information when there is so much available.”

The team developed an advocacy strategy aimed at simplifying the process for accessing the abundance of labor market data through a proposed new web-based system that would provide organizations with guidance about tools to use based on the organization’s service specifications and reporting needs.

An organization would go into the system and create an account profile, providing details about the organization and the type of data required. The system would take this information and generate a list of data source suggestions that the organization would be able to use and store for future use. The system would use all of the collected information to adjust its recommendations for tools based on new data requirements.

The team’s advocacy method included:

  • Establishing a Statewide Coalition to convene organizations from across the state, especially larger urban areas such as Albany, Rochester and Buffalo.
  • Advocating by educating legislators from those areas
  • Pitching the proposed system to private philanthropic foundations that highly value data capture and reporting, such as the Robin Hood Foundation
  • Pitching to Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs)

The culmination of the group work was a formal presentation of the concept, using a PowerPoint titled “Demystifying Data – A Tool to Empower Workforce Development Organizations,” to the class, alumni and colleagues during the graduation ceremony, held on April 14.

“This project gave me ideas for what we can do to execute this concept internally as an organization.” Chris said. “Once we have proo

Chris Wingert, center, with the NYC cohort on graduation day.
Chris Wingert, center, with the NYC cohort on graduation day.

Construction Law Theme of ITC Leadership Committee Meeting

Leadership Committee 1

On Jan. 13, the SBS Industrial Transportation Career Center (ITC), a manufacturing and transportation sector center operated by Grant Associates in Jamaica, Queens,  hosted its quarterly Leadership Committee Meeting for employer stakeholders, businesses, industrial business service providers and educators. This quarter, the meeting’s focus was on the construction industry. Continue reading

Tulsa Vanpool Project Hits the Road

A press conference announcing the vanpooling project was held in Tulsa on June 10.

Unreliable public transportation makes getting to work particularly difficult for many Tulsa, Okla., residents. But local businesses are helping to solve the problem with participation in the city’s first vanpool project, a collaborative effort to connect workers to companies that have job opportunities.

While new to Tulsa, vanpooling is a common method of transportation in other areas. The city has partnered with vRide, the nation’s largest provider of vanpooling services. vRide puts more than 7,500 vans on the road every day.

Typically, riders share the total monthly operating costs — gas and use of the van — with payment made through payroll deductions. Companies may also opt to pay for the van and fuel on behalf of riders.

One participant drives the 15-passenger van, picks up the others and drives them to work. At the end of the shift, the driver does the reverse. The driver rides for free and may use the van for personal use. vRide covers all liability and there are potential tax advantages for participating businesses.

The first vanpool ride for employees of S & R Compression of Tulsa took place in late June, giving everyone something to cheer about.  “Having our first van on the road is an amazing accomplishment for me,” said Crystal Scarborough, Business Services Coordinator for Workforce Tulsa One-Stop Centers, operated by Grant Associates. Ms. Scarborough met with area businesses to explain the program and gain buy-in.

“There is no doubt that the vanpooling project is the solution to closing the transportation gap in our communities,” she said.

The project is a collaboration between the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Workforce Tulsa, Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, The Center for Employment Opportunities, Women in Recovery, Madison Strategies, and the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech Skills Centers. The project is funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, United Way and federal and local transportation funding.

For more information, contact Crystal Scarborough in Tulsa at 918.796.1234 or at