Marano Fellows Class of 2011

Name: Danya Pastuszek

The HOPE Program

Location: Brooklyn, New York
Primary Industry Sector: Food retail
Type of Organization: CBO

“I am excited about the possibility of seeing every HOPE graduate achieve a satisfying mid-waged job; a practical and useful education; and the ability to help their employers by hiring other well-trained HOPE graduates into their businesses. I am excited about the opportunity to help HOPE graduates and employers contribute to the city- and nationwide movement for a healthier and more sustainable food system.”

Organizational Mission: The HOPE Program aims to empower New Yorkers living in poverty to achieve economic self-sufficiency through employment and advancement. The HOPE Program has been in operation since 1984.

Interest in Sector Work: The HOPE Program works in the food retail industry. We chose this sector because the NYC Council has made a tremendous investment in bringing fresh produce and supermarkets to underrepresented areas, and because of local labor market information that suggests that grocery stores compare “well with the rest of the local labor market on several measures,” including job growth and performance, and ability to employ individuals who do not hold four-year college degrees and who may have criminal backgrounds.

Our hopes are to address the challenges that our clients – and specifically those who have substance and criminal histories – have to getting and keeping in demand jobs. In particular, we would like to assist young people, ages 18-30, who lack high school equivalency and progressive work histories in gaining and retaining employment and in achieving high school equivalency. We will measure success through wage increases, promotions, and connecting our students to educational credentials – and through how effectively we train students for the changing and actual requirements that food industry employers have.