Developing Workforce Opportunities in our Community.

Our Focus

The Skills Gap Initiative (SGI) team of alumni volunteers is focused on solutions to key problems in workforce development – especially for New Yorkers from underserved communities.

We focus our efforts on determining employer needs, training, job search preparation, and career development for high school graduates (or equivalent) and above.

SGI stems from the U.S. Competitive Study done by Harvard Business School’s faculty in 2012.

The Challenge

Job Seekers

Motivated potential employees often lack the skills needed or the professional grounding for career-oriented mid-level jobs, and the ability to afford training.

They need job opportunities and financial means.


Employers have openings that exceed the number of trained and competent employees, so mid-level positions go unfilled.

Retraining, upskilling, and internship/externship programs are also beneficial for workforce development.

Our Approach

Our team of HBS alumni volunteers works with colleges, employers, and non-profits to help New Yorkers prepare, search for and then excel in mid-level careers.

Initially, our alumni volunteers led the development of a ground-breaking partnership between healthcare employers, including Weill Cornell and Mt. Sinai hospitals, and LaGuardia Community College.  We then secured 100% tuition funding through NYC’s Department of Small Business Services.

Early Results

Since that start, our partnership has completed 1 or 2 cohorts every academic year. Our alumni team has grown with the program and continues to contribute to updating the training curriculum and improving placement opportunities.

In addition, our team helped an internship program to place LaGuardia students at an NYC tech incubator. Students who participated gained exposure to the tech start-up world and many secured employment in the industry.

We’d like to duplicate successes like these as we pursue new initiatives in healthcare, tech, and elsewhere.

The Opportunity

The Skills Gap Initiative provides a path forward for men and women seeking not just a well-paying job, but an on-ramp to a career.

The healthcare program has been an enduring win for alumni seeking fulfilling volunteer work, a win for our participating employers, a win for the CITY’s program sponsor, and a win for CUNY’s community colleges.   Since 2016, more than 200 men and women have completed it and found employment,  Employers report that they are “keepers,” reducing turnover, and many have already progressed from the entry-level hire.

We believe that our workforce development approach offers a replicable model of value to other markets in New York City: tech, cyber, hospitality, etc.  It is our goal to build from the experience we have gained.

New Alumni Volunteers Always Welcome

Let us hear from you if you’d like to learn more about what we do and how you might help.  

Alumni capable of making a modest, ongoing commitment are especially encouraged to become part of our SGI Team.

If you have problem-solving skills and want to work with our group of motivated alumni to expand our offerings and explore new opportunities, reach out to SGI co-chairs:

Barry Puritz, MBA 1965, 

Richard Kane, MBA 1968,