Industry City, located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship. Initially built in the 1890s as a shipping and manufacturing hub, the complex went through a reimagining in the 1980s as a center for light industry and warehousing. In recent years, Industry City has undergone a transformation, becoming a hub for creative industries, technology, and innovation. One of the key drivers of this transformation has been the Innovation Lab.

The Innovation Lab at Industry City in Brooklyn, New York, is a collaboration between Industry City, CUNY’s City Tech, and several local nonprofit organizations to ensure underserved communities in Sunset Park, Red Hook, and other Southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods have access to resources and education to enrich their lives. Since its inception in 2016, the Innovation Lab has provided Brooklyn residents with an integrated employment and entrepreneur development center, providing economic opportunities in the city’s technology, creative, and manufacturing sectors.

Funding for the Innovation Lab initially came from a public-private collaboration that includes Industry City, CUNY’s City Tech (New York City College of Technology), and local nonprofits: Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC), Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI). Industry City paid for the build-out and is providing the space rent-free. The Innovation Lab has remained the host of OBT’s tech-based programs, including Cloud Support Engineering Training, Digital Marketing Training, and Adult Employment Services. It is also the site of hiring/networking events for employers and participants held by OBT’s Workforce Innovation team.

Supporters of the Innovation Lab shared a great deal of support including the then Brooklyn Borough President (now Mayor of New York City), Eric Adams, Council Member Carlos Menchaca, and Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz supported the effort by providing funds to some of the nonprofit organizations involved in programming. Mayor Eric Adams helped fund Lab equipment, including computers and software. Council Member Menchaca provided programmatic support to SBIDC, OBT, and CFL for their Innovation Lab operations. Assembly Member Ortiz secured additional funds for computers and fit-out of the space.

Funders and supporters of the Innovation Lab at Industry City have praised its contributions to the Sunset Park Community. When Mayor Eric Adams served as Brooklyn Borough President, he stated, “Industry City has become a true economic engine for Brooklyn, revitalizing our industrial sector while providing jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities… I’m proud to have been able to support the creation of the Innovation Lab, which will provide resources for local workers and business owners as well as allow Industry City to continue growing our local economy.” This addition has marked an advancement for the Sunset Park waterfront. Former CEO of Industry City (now head of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC)) commented at its inception that, “Innovation Lab establishes a direct conduit between residents and area businesses located both here at Industry City and elsewhere in Sunset Park…With tens of thousands of innovation economy jobs projected to be created on the Brooklyn waterfront over the next decade, this workforce pipeline is more valuable than ever and provides a real opportunity to strengthen the local community for residents and businesses alike for generations.” The lab continues to provide individuals with access to high-quality jobs and workforce development resources.

The OBT services and programs at the Innovation Lab include Cloud Support Engineering, Digital Marketing Training, and Adult Employment Services (read more about these resources in the links below). These offerings achieve many of the goals OBT set to contribute to the Sunset Park community by allowing participants to learn many new skills and obtain the credentials to pursue careers in the tech industry (read more about our recent graduates below).

The Innovation Lab at Industry City is an excellent example of public-private collaboration to create opportunities for NYC residents and prepare them for success in the rapidly evolving technology industry. Through this impactful partnership with Industry City, OBT continues to deliver resources like the Innovation Lab, that make our services stand out and achieve our mission of breaking the cycle of poverty and inequity through education, job training, and employment.


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How Tech Builds Communities

In December 2021, Sony Entertainment Group hired two of our Cloud Support Engineer (CSE)graduates as Global Helpdesk Technicians. Over the past year, both OBT graduates have been promoted with the company, so the Sony recruitment team entrusted us to fill the two newly vacated positions. We are proud to say both new participants have also retained employment with Sony Entertainment Group.

Charos joined our CSE program with almost no prior tech experience. Charos and her family immigrated to the United States about ten years ago, and Charos studied English as her third language. It was not easy, but her determination to learn a new language pushed her out of her comfort zone and closer to her dreams. Charos doesn’t hesitate to ask thoughtful questions and goes above and beyond. She recovers quickly from setbacks and approaches challenges head-on, seeing them as learning experiences. Not surprisingly, Charos completed the CSE program and earned her AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification before starting at Sony.

Isaiah graduated from our Tech Fundamentals Bridge Program in July 2022 as a salutatorian and subsequently enrolled in our Cloud Support Engineer Program in August 2022. He loves building things and being creative. His prior tech experience included creating music, digital art, and coding. Isaiah has a bright personality that motivates everyone around him and consistently seeks ways to improve himself while helping others. Most of our participants experience personal challenges during the program, but Isaiah is particularly resourceful, always finding a way to navigate difficult situations. Isaiah completed the CSE program and earned his CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification before starting at Sony. He continues to study for the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam and hopes to be certified soon.

Tarique also joined CSE after first completing our Tech Fundamentals Bridge Program. He had the most prior work experience in the tech field. Yet, in his own words, he described his CSE journey as one where he learned more about himself and fine-tuned his personal and professional life goals. Tarique excelled throughout the program with continual support to prioritize his work-life balance. He also earned his CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) IT Fundamentals certification and secured a job at Sony. Tarique reported feeling grateful and happy about his career trajectory and continues to study for the AWS Cloud Practitioner exam.

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