Southern Brooklyn lacking in tech-training programs: Report

Mariah Ahmed, Aldiana Feratovic and Valtina Teplani use the button-making machine at the Kings Highway Library’s new Teen Tech Center.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

While Brooklyn boasts the second-highest number of training programs for aspiring technology professionals in the city, the courses are unevenly distributed throughout the borough — with an embarrassment of riches in the bougie northern Brooklyn nabes, and a deficiency of courses for southern Brooklynites, according to a new report. 

Center for an Urban Future and Tech:NYC issued their first-ever report on technology training programs for both K-12 students and adults around the city and found a striking disparity between geographic regions of New York — which they claim further exacerbates the lack of diversity in the local tech workforce. 

For K-12 programs, Brooklyn is home to 122 tech programs, yet 28 — or 23-percent — of those  are concentrated in the northern Brooklyn neighborhoods of Park Slope, Red Hook, and Carroll Gardens. 

Meanwhile, six of Brooklyn’s 18 Census-defined neighborhoods have two or less sites that offer tech programs for school-aged children. 

The neighborhoods of Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Gerritsen Beach collectively lack even a single program, while only one course can be found in East Flatbush and in Dyker Heights and Bay Ridge. Residents of central Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights and ‘Crown Heights North’ feature two locations, as do Canarsie and Flatlands, according to the report. 

The lack of geographic diversity is even more pronounced for adult tech training programs, as Brooklyn offers 107 courses, with 43 — or 40-percent — based in the neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights. The rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant is home to another 12 sites for adults.

Four Census-defined neighborhoods — all of which are in southern Brooklyn — have just one adult program location. That disparity leaves wanna-be technologists in Brownsville, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, East Flatbush, Bay Ridge, and Dyker Heights out of luck. 

Despite the shortcomings of the borough’s tech offerings, the report found that the city is moving in the right direction overall when it comes to technical skill-building — yet city educational honchos still have much work to do in improving and expanding technological training to communities in less-affluent places like southern Brooklyn.