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"Made in NY" PA Training Program Welcomes Newest Cycles of Graduates

Cycle 27 was the first to graduate from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

December 3, 2012 - Over the past few months, two cycles of New Yorkers have joined the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program family. The program, which prepares unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers for entry-level positions on film sets and in production offices, was developed in partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations. Cycle 27’s eight trainees were the first to graduate from the “Made in NY” PA Training Program’s new home in Building 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on August 10 and are now embarking on new careers in the entertainment industry.

At the ceremony, Allie Gittens expressed her gratitude to her mother who cared for Allie’s young children while she was in training. “She is the executive producer of my life,” said Gittens. She went on to thank BWI for helping her find “a piece of myself I thought I lost.”

“I appreciate that you see the promise in me,” Shaq Curry told the BWI staff. “I know we’re going to be successful.”

“Thank you for making me a better person,” said Alex Felder.

At the graduation for PAs from Cycle 28, which took place on October 26, 19 PAs celebrated the end of their training in front of an audience that included parents, grandparents, significant others and friends.

“This is a big day for us,” said Danai ‘Star’ Young. “We went through a lot.” She also spoke about how the program was the spark she needed to wake her ambition. “I’m ready to face the world again.”

“You taught me a lot that I should have known by now,” said Aniya Drake to the instructors. “Thank you.”

Many of the PAs expressed their thanks to the program for giving them not just a new start and the prospect of a new career, but new friends and connections. “I see you like family,” said Rob Morales. “I’m linked to all of you.”

Kris Jackson echoed those sentiments. “I didn’t think we’d get this close,” he said, adding that he was grateful to everyone who made sure he wasn’t late to training.

“I’m happy to go forward in my career,” said Candace Thomas. “We’re going to make it out there.”

Cycle 28, pictured with their BWI instructors, is among the largest cycles to graduate from the program.

“I am amazed by the power of this program to transform people,” said Nancy Goldman, the Job Developer for the “Made in NY” PA Training Program who places graduates with productions. “Some of you carry yourselves differently. There’s more confidence in your posture.”

Cycle 28 also benefitted from BWI’s NY Drives program, which helps New Yorkers get their drivers’ licenses. Kalilah Moon taught eight of the “Made in NY” PAs from Cycle 28. “We are here to support you,” she said. “You can make it happen.”

“It’s a great time for all of you to start your careers,” said Commissioner Katherine Oliver at the Cycle 28 graduation ceremony. Commissioner Oliver also paid special thanks to Program Director Katy Finch, who after seven years is leaving Brooklyn Workforce Innovations as her family moves out of state. “Katy, you’ve been incredible. While you will be missed, these PAs are going to make you proud.”

“For seven years, I have had the privilege to teach New Yorkers like you the ways of productions,” Finch told the graduates. “Every class has transformed me. I wish all of us a future full of good jobs and good movies.”
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