Photo Credit: Susie Raisher/NYTHA
NYTHA maintains a scholarship fund to provide financial assistance for higher education to Backstretch employees and their direct dependents.
NYTHA awards $200,000 in scholarship grants to more than 40 students annually.
The intention of the scholarship award is to promote education in fields relating but not limited to Thoroughbred racing. Its aim is to increase the number of qualified persons associated with Thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. Applications for support of undergraduate studies in other fields at recognized colleges and professional institutions are also considered.
The scholarship program is currently closed for 2020. We will update this page as soon as the 2021 program opens.
Click here for a scholarship application form (PDF)
Backstretch Education Fund
The Backstretch Education Fund provides educational opportunities to Backstretch workers that assist them both in their jobs at the racetrack and in their lives. Through our vocational training program, The Groom Development Program, and our English as a second language and literacy programs, we offer workers the means to help themselves thereby benefiting the entire racing community. To learn more about the Backstretch Education Fund, download the brochure.
English as a Second Language and Literacy Classes
Classes are offered at three levels according to ability and are specially designed to appeal to the workers, many of whom do not have a formal education. They include basic conversation and grammar as well as literacy or basic reading and writing. In addition special sections are offered each semester of horsemen’s English needed specifically for use on the workers’ jobs. An interactive language lab program has also been added using computers and headsets. ESL teachers are now using student mentors, ie those students with more developed language skills, to assist with teaching in the classes.
As the workers gain proficiency in English they communicate more effectively on their jobs and in their daily lives. Their confidence increases and this reduces their sense of isolation and enhances their performance in their working environment.
Benefits of Our Programs
- Emphasis on each individual worker’s accomplishments through a structured class environment
- Development of a sense of community among the workers as a result of participation in the classes which lessens their isolation and gives them a greater motivation to succeed in their jobs
- Increased confidence on their jobs which results in better care for their horses
- Better communication between workers and their trainers