Council member wants to expand job training program outside Coney Island

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CONEY ISLAND -

A council member's realization that some Coney Island residents didn't have the necessary training for available jobs has led to a partnership now in its second year.

Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow bridge program at O'Dwyer Gardens Community Center offers high school equivalency courses. But those involved saw they needed more.

"We were seeing individuals come in who could use breakfast or lunch, who needed support in finding child care services so that they could attend class," says Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow CEO Liliana Poll-McKenna.

Those extra services are offered and increased the chances of people passing the program and getting jobs in the area. Now Brooklyn Councilman Mark Treyger is hoping Mayor Bill de Blasio will offer funding to bring the program to other areas.

"Even though Coney has a double-than-average unemployment rate, there are other neighborhoods in New York City that have just as much need, if not greater," says Treyger.

Treyger says about 43% of New Yorkers have a high school diploma or less.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the mayor's office says, "Preparing New Yorkers for good-paying jobs is a key part to creating the fairest big city in America. Since the beginning, the administration, we've more than doubled investments in job training programs. We will evaluate the council member's request through the budget process."

Treyger says he will continue to fund the Coney Island program and hope for expansion.

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