Shooting for the moon

Shooting for the moon

Coney Island residents hoping to find work at the new Luna Park can start their search on Mermaid Avenue.

For the last several weeks, Astella Development Corp. has been helping eligible candidates file online job applications inside its office on Mermaid Avenue between W. 16th and W. 17th streets for the more than 200 job openings at Luna Park — which will open on the site of the former Astroland on May 19.

The jobs — which include ride and game operators, park maintenance, food service, security, emergency response, and the all-important “Logistics Associate” — are also being advertised on Luna Park’s Web site, www.lunaparknyc.com.

Employment at the park is opened to anyone over the age of 18, as long as they speak fluent English, can read and write, and have basic arithmetic skills. Four “Maintenance Technician” slots require certification.

“Coney Island certainly needs jobs,” said Georganna Deas, Astella’s economic development specialist, who added that some people seeking work at Luna Park have experience working at Astroland.

The opening of Luna Park could be a boon for summer jobs in Coney Island, where unemployment has risen to more than 13 percent. Borowide, unemployment stands at 11.3, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

Last Friday, community stakeholders met with representatives from the Coney Island Development Corporation to talk about local recruitment efforts.

Central Amusement International — operators of the new amusement park — has 222 entry-level positions to fill. They hope to have new hires ready for orientation and training beginning May 17.

Kingsborough Community College, meanwhile, has just completed the first cycle of its free five-week customer service and hospitality training program — in hopes of getting more Coney residents working at the park.

About 50 Coney residents began the program — which was funded via a $600,000 city grant facilited by Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island). The next session starts the first week of April.

Stuart Schulman, executive director of the Center for Economic and Workforce Development at Kingsborough Community College, thinks graduates of the school’s training program stand an excellent chance of landing Luna Park jobs.

“If we’re screening people and they areperforming well, it saves them [CAI] a lot of time and effort — they don’t have to recruit.”

Nevertheless, it remains to be seen just how effective these efforts will be in reaching Coney Island residents most in need of jobs.

“Whenever you’re doing something in the neighborhood you have to do outreach, and often times that’s not what happens.” said Mathylde Frontus, executive director of Urban Neighborhood Services, a non-profit, support organization on Mermaid Avenue between W. 17th and W. 18th streets. “There are no shortcuts to grassroots efforts. Sometimes you have to go into buildings and put flyers under doors.”

Veronica Robinson, 17, a senior at Liberation Diploma Plus High School on West 19th Street, hopes to apply for a job at Luna Park.Until recently, however, she says she was unaware that a new amusement park was even opening in Coney Island this summer.

“Nobody has really heard about this,” Robinson said.

Tom Corcillo, spokesperson for CAI, said that while there are no hiring quotas for Coney Island residents, “there is definitely a commitment to hire local.”

In addition to the new Luna Park, Coney Island residents hoping for new jobs are also awaiting the return of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to the neighborhood this summer.

More from Around New York