December 1, 2009 - Nearly two hundred PAs have been certified through the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program, and their hard work has paid off as companies like A&E consistently hire them for its productions and large scale events.
Nancy Goldman, the job developer for the “Made in NY” PA Training Program, places graduates on jobs in film, television, commercial and web production and coaches them to develop their career paths beyond being a PA.
Earlier this year, “Made in NY” PA Ashely Richardson approached Goldman, looking to discuss her next career move. Richardson had worked at the local television station in her hometown, performing different jobs there, but she wasn’t sure what those jobs were called in a large market like New York. She needed guidance about job descriptions so Goldman got her in touch with someone who could help.
Goldman contacted Melissa Ray, a production coordinator at A&E, who was familiar with the “Made in NY” PA Training Program, and asked if Ray would consider having an informational interview with the “Made in NY” PA. Ray immediately said yes and even went so far as to set up meetings for Richardson with other colleagues at A&E so she could learn about programming and scheduling.
“Individuals at A&E went out of their way to mentor Ashely and give her access and information that is often very hard to acquire,” said Goldman. “A&E’s culture of support makes it a company that we love doing business with and for which PAs love working.”
“Ashely was hardworking and hungry in the best way,” remembered Ray. “She was thankful for every bit of information you gave her.”
This past spring, A&E production manager Pat Parades Saez called BWI to hire twenty “Made in NY” PAs for the upfronts followed by another forty for an outdoor event called The Recovery Project.
“What’s wonderful about these PAs is that they come in fully trained,” said Saez. “Before we’d have PAs and it was hit and miss. They didn’t understand the industry and you’d have to do on the job training with them. But the best part about ‘Made in NY’ PAs is the training. They know the lingo; they even know the walkie-talkie lingo. Plus, they’re very hard working and want to prove themselves.”
A&E has since hired Richardson to work on its show “Biography,” further strengthening A&E’s commitment to the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program.
Richardson isn’t the first “Made in NY” PA to find long term employment at A&E. Cycle 9 alum Deidre 'Cookie' Johnson, was hired as a duplication assistant in A&E’s tape library soon after she graduated from the program. As a single mother, Johnson greatly benefited from having a stable job in the industry at the beginning of her career.
“Working as I have with A&E allows me to provide them with very customized service,” said Goldman, “to really understand the type of PA they’re looking for, and what their corporate culture is like - so I can find the best PA to meet their needs.”
Interested in hiring a “Made in NY” PA? Call the production cell – 718-757-5816 – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and BWI can offer customized placements who posses a variety of skills. BWI is a non-profit and provides this service free of charge. PAs are hired directly by a production, and it is up to the production to set rates.