ITHACA, N.Y. — As sexual harassment cases in the workplace continue to rise nationwide, a Tompkins County organization is developing an anti-harassment training curriculum that can be used by local businesses and nonprofits.
The Tompkins County Workers Center plans to offer a sexual harassment and workplace violence prevention training curriculum to local businesses and nonprofits beginning in 2019. The center decided to create the curriculum because sexual harassment and violence prevention training has been the top request from workers contacting the organization over the past four years, said Rob Brown, operations manager at the Tompkins County Workers Center.
Last week, the center received its first grant to develop the training curriculum from the Women’s Fund of Community Foundation of Tompkins County. The $3,500 grant will support the development of the curriculum and training of staff and volunteers who will provide it to workers, businesses and nonprofits in the county.
The center received the grant just weeks after New York State began requiring all businesses with one employee or more to conduct annual anti-harassment training and to adopt written sexual harassment prevention policies, beginning Oct. 9.
“We want to go above and beyond just developing a curriculum that’s consistent with the basic safety standards or the minimum for the state,” Brown said. “What we want to do with our curriculum is develop something that’s robust, and that’s more than the bare minimum.”
The Tompkins County Workers Center is one of ten local nonprofits that received a total of more than $30,000 in grants from the Women’s Fund of Community Foundation of Tompkins County. The fund was created in 2004 with a gift from Beverly Baker, a 1954 Ithaca College graduate who started her own travel agency, Baker Travel, and was involved in many community organizations.
“There are so many needs in our community,” Baker said in a statement read at the annual Women’s Fund lunch at Ithaca College on Oct. 23. “We who have a warm home in which to live and food to eat and good friends who rally when we need help can’t always understand what others face and have to deal with on a daily basis.”
Another nonprofit that received its first grant from the Women’s Fund was College Initiative Upstate, an alternative to incarceration program that works with court-involved and former inmates. Founded in 2016, the program now has 50 students enrolled in college prep classes or college, with the majority attending Tompkins Cortland Community College or Empire State College.
The $2,500 grant will help support eight to ten women who are not able to apply to or enroll in college because of outstanding debts or fines, said Benay Rubenstein, director of the program. The program is part of Opportunities,
Alternatives and Resources of Tompkins County (OAR), a nonprofit working with people incarcerated in Tompkins County.
“This grant will provide critical support for our students, and make college enrollment a reality for women who are changing their lives through education,” Rubenstein said.
The Women’s Fund brings together gifts made by numerous donors to Community Foundation to address the needs of local women. Since its inception in 2007, the fund has granted more than $140,000 to 40 organizations, based on recommendations of a grant cycle review team.
The other recipients of this year’s Women’s Fund grants are:
- $3,500 for Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming to support a hands-on carpentry workshop for women as they continue to build infrastructure at the Groundswell Incubator Farm
- $3,400 for Natural Leaders Initiative, a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension, to support the growth of grassroots leaders from communities underrepresented in civic leadership in Tompkins County
- $3,500 for Greater Ithaca Activities Center to engage girls in grades 8 to 12 in a program that allows them to express themselves, and set and achieve goals
- $1,250 for Suicide Prevention and Crisis Service to support two senior counselors who will be certified as peer specialists to work with the Crisisline and other services
- $3,500 for Catholic Charities for “A Place to Stay,” a program that provides shelter to women who are in transition in Tompkins County
- $3,500 for Mama’s Comfort Camp to provide moderated peer support for moms on a Facebook forum
- $3,500 to Child Development Council to help women with transportation needs by providing bus passes and gas cards
- $2,000 for Cancer Resource Center for its boutique that offers free wigs, turbans and accessories to women experiencing the side effects of cancer treatment
Featured image: Provided Photo