President Boudreau, Governor Hochul, Congressman Rangel, Congressman Espaillat and Secretary of Labor Walsh visit the RIWI training facility, Sept. 2022

Our Story

By 2050, almost 90 percent of the U.S. population will live in urban areas. To meet the demands of growth, cities must significantly modernize their infrastructure. However, New York, like most cities across the country, doesn’t have the trained workforce it will need to grow, adapt, and thrive in 2050 and beyond.

The Honorable Charles B. Rangel, a lifelong public servant, former Congressman, and Scholar in Residence at The City College of New York, initiated the Charles B. Rangel Infrastructure Workforce Initiative (RIWI) to address the workforce skills gap and develop new pathways of opportunity for traditionally underrepresented communities to enter specialized infrastructure industries. 

Five years after leaving the House in 2017, Rangel’s mission continues with the launch of RIWI at The City College of New York. The program, which aims to address the lack of modern infrastructure jobs in Rangel’s old congressional district, gets underway with $1.5 million in federal funding. CUNY had earlier allotted $400,000 to the project

“We all know that underprivileged communities have been left behind as transportation and infrastructure projects with billion-dollar price tags have filled the pockets of developers, contractors and union workers,” Congressman Rangel said. “It is high time that we address the underrepresentation of our constituencies – we need to secure equity in these massive projects for them.”

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Vincent Boudreau mobilized CCNY’s infrastructure research and workforce development resources under the leadership of Dr. Robert Paaswell to develop the initiative at a crucial time in the reconstruction of the American economy and infrastructure. 

We aim to:

  • Prepare the local workforce to enter existing and emerging career sectors by offering training in new core and advanced skills in transportation, energy, buildings, water, food, waste, and digital infrastructures.
  • Empower economically disadvantaged populations, including minorities, women, veterans, the formerly incarcerated, and recent high school graduates, by improving equity of opportunity in a historically unequal infrastructure labor market.
  • Provide experiential learning and networking opportunities through structured, paid internships with city and state agencies and local industries.
  • Collaborate with partners in the public sector and private industries to develop and continuously update a curriculum that addresses immediate and forthcoming workforce needs.


Last Updated: 12/06/2022 16:09