Brooklyn’s technology and creative sectors are booming. Rapid growth in these fields has been a boon to Brooklyn, creating thousands of jobs and diversifying the local economy. Many of these fast-growing tech companies desperately need talented workers. At the same time, however, too many of the high-quality jobs emerging from these fields remain out of reach for Brooklyn residents from low- and moderate-income backgrounds.
Ensuring that more residents benefit from the boom is both a major challenge and a vital opportunity for the future of the borough.
A recent CUF symposium brought many promising ideas to light. Held in summer 2016 at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg and made possible with generous support from Rubenstein Partners, Heritage Equity Partners, Innovation Lab at Industry City, and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, the forum convened some of the city’s leading experts to discuss closing the digital skills gap.
The discussion made clear that New York City—and, increasingly, Brooklyn—is home to several high-quality programs aimed at expanding the pipeline of residents with the skills required to access jobs in the tech sector.
But while there is a lot to learn, much more needs to be done—by city policymakers as well as tech industry employers, workforce development practitioners, and leaders of academic institutions—to ensure that the high-quality jobs being created in the tech and creative industries are accessible to residents from low-income backgrounds.
Five important takeaways emerged from the thought-provoking discussion we held in Brooklyn:
1. Many of the jobs being created don’t require an advanced degree, or even a college education.
2. Employer-driven partnerships should inform training programs.
3. Tech companies should look beyond traditional pipelines and credentials to reach local residents.
4. Successful programs should inform others and scale up.
5. New York City schools need to better prepare students for today’s jobs.
Click here to explore ideas from our expert panel for expanding access to Brooklyn's tech and creative sector jobs.
Image credit: WOCinTech