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Cycle 24 of the "Made in NY" PA Training Programs Celebrates with Family and Friends

Cycle 24 celebrates becoming “Made in NY” PAs. Photo courtesy of BWI.

November 1, 2011 - With proud family members and friends standing by, ten “Made in NY” PAs took their first steps into the entertainment industry and became certified in a ceremony at Brooklyn Workforce Innovations on October 26.

The “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program was created in 2006 in partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations to train diverse New Yorkers who otherwise lack access to the film and television industry. There are now more than 300 certified “Made in NY” PAs who work in production and are advancing in their careers.

“In this industry, you survive because of the support of the people in your life,” said Katy Finch, the program’s director. With so many loved ones in the audience, Finch added that the PAs have bright futures ahead of them.

“We select five to ten percent of those who apply [to the program],” said Mara Prater, the associate program manager, addressing the PAs. “You set a goal for yourself, and you accomplished it; remember that.”

The newly minted “Made in NY” PAs of Cycle 24 took time to thank the program and staff and share their thoughts on what the program has done for them.

“I learned so much these past four weeks,” said Lyndon Davis. “Not just about the movies and production, but about life and about myself. I can’t tell you how fulfilled I am. [The program] changed me.”

“I feel lucky to be here,” said Mohammed Woli, a father of a young daughter who wanted to sit with her dad during part of the ceremony. Woli went on to add that, according to the saying, luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. “We’re prepared to do everything needed.”

Shatirah Rolle, who was originally supposed to be a part of the previous cycle, was grateful to have been given a second chance with Cycle 24. “We learned so much,” she said. “Thank you to all the family who supported us.”

“I finally have a focus and a path and a plan,” said Wendy Ramirez. “I wake up every day with passion. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

Pedro Small spoke about how he had wanted to get into the industry for a long time, but didn’t know how. After acquiring various skills during the four and a half weeks of training, Small was prepared to put them to use during his on-set internship. “Everything you told us, I was ready for it,” he said.

“I tried a lot of career paths,” said Josh Nadelman. “Nothing clicked. I was so excited to get [into the program]. I met these amazing people who have become a second family to me. Thank you for helping me change my life.”

PAs like Emely Martinez, Harold Williams and Tiffany Ferguson all expressed their appreciation for the program and the support they’ve gotten from fellow PAs. “I feel like I ran a marathon,” said Ferguson.

Before handing out the certificates to the “Made in NY” PAs, John Battista, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment’s deputy commissioner, shared a few words of advice. Reminding the PAs that they are the face of a production on City streets, they play an important role in keeping neighborhoods film friendly. “Your attitude will determine your altitude,” he said. “People will remember your good work.”

“Four weeks ago, I wouldn’t have been able to come up here,” said Hera Dowdy, as she took the podium to speak. Before the program, she was unsure what she wanted to do with her life and had difficulty transitioning into adulthood. “This program taught us how to find confidence in ourselves. I’m really looking forward to seeing where I can go.”
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