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Going public! Industry City opens free job-training center for neighbors • Brooklyn Paper

Going public! Industry City opens free job-training center for neighbors

Lab rats: Locals studying programming with the career-building organization Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, including Mocha Davis Powell, will work at Industry City’s Innovation Lab over the next 15 months.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

They’re making the next generation of makers.

Hip manufacturing hub Industry City and a collaborative of local community organizations and schools opened up a job-training center at the Sunset Park complex on April 7. The state-of-the-art facility will give students access to tech they probably never would have otherwise, said one teen who will study computer programming there.

“We’re the first class to get stuff like this, so I’m pretty humbled by it and excited to start working in the lab — its an amazing opportunity and I’m glad to be a part of it,” 19-year-old Sheepshead Bay resident Dave Barthly said.

Barthly hopes the training will help him get ready to return to college and eventually land a job in computer programming. He rattled off a number of fancy applications on the brand-spanking-new Apple computers in the lab, including some used to build smartphone apps and video games, which he hopes to take full advantage of during the 15-week course he is taking there.

The center features two computer labs, three conference rooms for smaller classes and meetings, and workspace for the groups running programs there.

Locals can sign up for specific training programs, but anyone can walk into the Innovation Lab and get free job placement help, including resume-building assistance and pre-screening for positions available with Industry City tenants starting on April 11.

Industry City paid to build the lab and will not charge job-training partners Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, and The New York City College of Technology to rent the space. State and local pols also kicked in money for outfitting the labs.

The center will begin offering entrepreneurship classes and a program to help small businesses grow later this year, according to a spokesman for Industry City.

The lab could help bridge an economic and social gap between Industry City and the neighborhood, officials say. But some local groups in Sunset Park argue a rapid $1 billion redevelopment of Industry City that started last year will set up the waterfront neighborhood for a sea change from a working class bastion to Brooklyn’s next gentrified locale. The hub has said half the workforce employed there is composed of people of color from neighboring communities.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.

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