Watermark Ripple: Community Support During a Crisis

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From the labor shortage already plaguing the construction industry to the recent pandemic and economic crisis, it’s clear that solutions are needed to support the future of architecture and design and to address the issue of employment scarcity in our communities.

Watermark Designs has worked for nearly 50 years to support the architecture and design community, especially in Brooklyn.

To address the industry’s skilled labor shortage and provide opportunities for the Brooklyn community, Watermark Designs established Ripple, its nonprofit program, in partnership with several local economic development organizations.

America’s Future Workforce Needs Solutions Now

The cost of education and lack of opportunities makes entering the workforce daunting for young adults today. According to recent demographic data from JFF, “Nearly 40 percent of America’s 18- to 24-year-olds are not in school and do not have a college degree, placing them at risk of unemployment or underemployment.”

The global pandemic has also forced more schools to go virtual, and many young adults don’t see the appeal (or benefit) of a pricey college education if they’re not attending class in-person. And there are a few other setbacks that young adults might encounter when it comes to entering the workforce.

“These young adults face significant hurdles to sustainable employment: a lack of access to quality education, few opportunities for work experience or on-the-job training that connects to well-paying jobs, and a lack of critical social support,” reports JFF.

So what kind of support is available to this up-and-coming workforce? One of the most recently developed programs is Watermark Ripple: a nonprofit organization that supports young people looking for employment options, no matter their level of education.

Creating Support in Our Local Communities

“Most of the top ten in-demand roles today require post-secondary training and not always a full university degree,” according to industry research from ManpowerGroup. With rising unemployment rates and the growing need for skilled tradespeople, Watermark Designs wanted to establish a program that would enhance Brooklyn’s workforce and support local businesses looking for skilled employees.

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Even with advancements in technology and the rise of automation, “employment will not always require a college degree, but will rely heavily on continual skills development as even the most traditional roles are augmented with new technology.”

The Watermark Ripple program sees the growing need for skilled labor as an opportunity. The Ripple program helps employers find the right talent, and offers apprenticeships and other training programs for young people who need employment options in an unpredictable economy.

Building a Future Brooklyn: Watermark Ripple

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The Ripple program offers young adults entering the workforce a chance for success, by giving them the training and skills that employers are looking for. By collaborating with several nonprofits and other organizations, Watermark Ripple provides guidance to young adults who are navigating these new challenges.

By working with local organizations like the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, NYC Business Solutions, and the Institute for Career Development, Watermark Designs hopes to create a hub of opportunities for the Brooklyn community.

The global pandemic has had deep impacts on all of our cities and communities, leaving thousands unemployed and competing for limited opportunities. In an effort to breathe life into the dire situation, Watermark’s Ripple program hopes to directly address the growing issues surrounding employment scarcity for today’s future workforce.

Learn more about the opportunities offered through the Watermark Ripple initiative here.