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"Made in NY" PA Training Program Reaches Milestone, Graduates 25th Cycle


Cycle 25 marks the latest graduation from the "Made in NY" PA Training Program.

March 1, 2012 - The “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program celebrated an extra-special milestone recently with the graduation of its 25th cycle. Thirteen new names have now been added to the “Made in NY” family.

The program, which was developed in partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, aims to prepare diverse New Yorkers for careers in the production industry. “Made in NY” PAs go through a rigorous four and a half week training period in which they learn the essential skills needed to work on location and in production offices as production assistants.

This group of “Made in NY” PAs is also the first cycle to receive flagger certification from the American Traffic Safety Services Association. In situations when the NYPD Movie/TV Unit or traffic agents are not present on location, “Made in NY” PAs with this flagger certification are permitted to assist in reverse parking of trailers or campers, assist in the departure of reversed parked trailers or campers at wrap, and intermittently hold vehicular traffic for equipment and vehicle placement. Flagger certification also allows them to intermittently hold and divert vehicular traffic during rolls and cuts for safety purposes only when NYPD is not present. It is important to remember that under no circumstances are PAs allowed to close streets and that the NYPD Movie/TV Unit is in charge whenever they are on set.

At a special gathering at BWI’s DeGraw Street location, the BWI staff and the PAs themselves got to share their impressions of the program, their hopes for the future and the gratitude for thei opportunities they’ve been given.

“I want to thank everyone for helping us build confidence,” said Darwin Rodriguez. “It’s been challenging, but we all got through this. I know everyone will do something great.”

“It’s been a journey,” said Angela Persico. “I’m excited. I’m ready. I gained a new career and a new family.”

Yulonda Tremble, a transplant to the City from Savannah, Georgia, expressed her excitement for the future. Thai Williams told the audience that without her classmates, she wouldn’t have made it through the program. “All the things I wished for, I’m pretty sure they’re going to happen,” she said.

Lauratu Nomaw echoed that sentiment. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do before,” she said. “I feel like my dreams are coming true [now].”

Others like Tanesha Hartsfield, Tes Hamanot and Mike Brooks spoke about the sense of family that had developed between the PAs during training. Mandy Julien described the program as more challenging than graduating from college. “The vital things I learned are how to build relationships, deal with difficult situations and see the bright side of things,” she said. Cory Hart spoke about how, in the past, she had done a lot of internships but felt forgotten on all of them. With the training from the PA program, she now knows how to put her best foot forward.

“This has been inspiring for me,” said Ryan Patterson. “The course allows me to leave a career that wasn’t inspiring for one that is.”

“I wouldn’t know what to do with myself without this [program],” said Lamont Ross. “I can’t wait to work with you guys some more.”

David Moy, OFTB’s Supervisor of Field Operations, congratulated the graduates and handed out their certificates. Before he did, he related a story about a recent set he visited. The PA he approached, who wasn’t from the “Made in NY” program, didn’t know who on the crew worked for the locations department. Thankfully, a “Made in NY” PA was nearby and was able to help Moy. “You’re the face of the production,” he reminded the graduates.

“This is a great day for you,” he said. “You’re also the first cycle with flagger training; you’re going to be very instrumental to productions.”
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