Community Job Training Center Pushes Sunset Park Forward

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Kings County Politics

April 7, 2016

In a joint public/private partnership, elected officials today cut the ribbon on The Innovation Lab, a 7,700 square-foot space at Industry City that will provide the local community with a wide range of services, including job training and job placement, and technical support for emerging entrepreneurs.

Among the initial funders of the Lab are a public-private collaboration that includes CUNY’s City Tech (New York City College of Technology) and local non-profits: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.


“Industry City has become a true economic engine for Brooklyn, revitalizing our industrial sector while providing jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities,” said Adams. “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.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Council Member Carlos Menchaca and Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz supported the effort by providing funds to some of the non-profit organizations involved in the programming. Adams’ office helped fund Lab equipment, including computers and software. Menchaca provided programmatic support to SBIDC, OBT and CFL for their Innovation Lab operations, and Ortiz secured additional funds for computers and fit-out of the space.

Menchaca said he expects great results from the Innovation Lab as the people in and near Sunset Park get training, and good local jobs.

“South Brooklyn employers are growing and must find talented people. The Innovation Lab created by Industry City will connect job seekers with high-quality employment, training, and career development. Support for entrepreneurs promises to cultivate a new generation of employers,” said Menchaca, adding he is proud to fund anything that coordinates and co-locates long-standing Sunset Park service organizations.”

Starting Monday, April 11, The Innovation Lab, 87 35th Street, 2nd Floor, will be open from9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and offer a wide range of training and job placement services geared toward jobs in the city’s rapidly emerging innovation economy. The innovation economy captures the full arc of the product-making process, from initial research and development, to engineering and design, and to manufacturing and production, and includes physical, digital and engineered products.

“Innovation Lab establishes a direct conduit between local residents and area businesses located both here at Industry City and elsewhere in Sunset Park,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City. “With tens of thousands of new 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’s specific services and programs will immediately include pre-screening and job placement services with the more than 400 businesses based at Industry City, as well as businesses at other developments along the waterfront, including Bush Terminal, Liberty View, Sims Recycling Facility, and the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Long-term, The Innovation Lab will offer technology and vocational training programs targeted to business growth needs, entrepreneurship and cooperative training programs, and continuing education programs.

The Innovation Lab will also offer collaborative programming with a number of community organizations and city agencies, including the Center for Family Life in Sunset Park, Turning Point Brooklyn, Consortium for Worker Education, Mixteca, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Red Hook Initiative, New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York City Department of Small Business Services.

“By offering workforce development and readiness services, the Innovation Lab promises to create greater opportunity throughout Brooklyn,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez.  “As a largely immigrant, walk-to-work community, Sunset Park’s residents stand to benefit greatly from these services, which will also help meet local businesses’ workforce needs.”

“The Southwest Brooklyn waterfront has historically been a source of good-paying jobs,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “The Innovation Lab at Industry City will create a direct pathway between the local workforce and local job opportunities, the vast majority of which offer real pathways to the middle class. With thousands of more jobs expected over the coming decade, this new resource is aptly timed to maximize economic opportunity in the local communities.”

“The Innovation Lab’s opening will further advance the impact of the innovation economy’s growth in New York City by connecting southern Brooklyn’s hard-working residents with great employment opportunities in the technology, design and manufacturing fields, while also providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed and create jobs,” said Senator Martin J. Golden. “As chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship, I congratulate Industry City and its partners for their efforts in creating this innovative community hub.”

“I commend Industry City and its partners for the grand opening of the Innovation Lab. This great community asset will make a tremendous improvement and impact in the working lives of our communities,” said Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “By providing valuable skills evaluation, job training and entrepreneurial assistance, the Lab will help local residents find work and create jobs in 21st century industries in the innovation economy.”

“As the Innovation Lab opens its doors to the communities of Southwest Brooklyn and beyond, thousands of New Yorkers will now have access to employment and job training services,” said Senator Diane J. Savino. “I applaud Industry City and its partners for their work and dedication on this important issue, and for creating a pipeline connecting the community with the thousands of innovation economy jobs being created along the Southwest Brooklyn waterfront.”