Hundreds of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents lined the sidewalk outside of the Ingersoll Community Center on July 2 in hopes of obtaining employment at the soon-to-open Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. The NYCHA residents, who were joined by other Brooklynites, were attending a job fair meant to fill a host of open positions ranging from management and security to concessions and guest services.
Nearly 2,000 individuals registered for the Barclays job fair, with almost half being NYCHA residents. The high popularity of similar job fairs across Brooklyn is due in large part to an agreement that gives public housing residents priority status in the Barclays hiring process. The NYCHA preference was announced in late April and was developed by NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability (REES); Public Housing Communities, Inc.; Forest City Ratner; AEG; Levy Restaurants; and the NYC Department of Small Business Services.
“The real stars of Barclays Center will be the NYCHA residents who are working there to provide a world-class entertainment experience for their neighbors, families, friends and others who visit the arena,” Chairman John B. Rhea said.
“I like the fact that they gave us this opportunity and first dibs at the new positions,” said Vernell King of Breukelen Houses. Ms. King, who is also a member of her Resident Association, attended the Barclays job fair to interview for a position in guest services.
Job fairs, like the one held at the Ingersoll Community Center, are being held throughout the summer. So far, an estimated 30,000 people have registered for the Barclays job fairs, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to the hiring preference, residents commended organizers for a well-run and helpful experience. “It wasn’t that long of a wait”, said Emy Colon of NYCHA’s Borinquen Plaza.
Tammy Summers, a Breukelen Houses resident in line next to Ms. Colon, agreed completely. “This is running well, and the entire staff has been courteous and professional,” Ms. Summers added.
Aiesha Kelly, an Ingersoll Houses resident who was applying to work in security at the new facility, was just thankful for the opportunity, saying “I’m glad they’re building this stadium.”
By Ryan Dicovitsky
July 2, 2012