The Bloomberg administration is making a push to support the expanding tech sector, and Downtown Brooklyn is becoming a hub for tech firms.
To help train and prepare students for the growing tech job market, the city’s Department of Small Business Services has partnered with the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle and the New York City College of Technology (City Tech) to create a paid summer internship program.
Initially the interns will come exclusively from City Tech, although other schools may join next year, officials said of the pilot program. 50 students submitted applications and 28 were selected for the program.
Interviews were held in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where 18 companies had a chance to interview City Tech students. Companies spoke to six students each for about seven minutes per student, and had a chance to match prospective interns to their business needs.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation worked with tech businesses to find the most suitable companies for learning and development. Both students and employers were given the opportunity to rank their ideal matches.
The students work Monday through Thursday and on Fridays, the entire group visits technology firms, including major players like Facebook, Kickstarter and SecondMarket. Also on Fridays, students attend a “Tech Entrepreneurship 101” class, where they learn the entrepreneurial skills necessary to start a new business.
The students earn $15 per hour. The Office of Media and Entertainment is funding the program, while SBS runs the day-to-day details of the program.
Although all the companies hired interns in tech-related areas, the employers cover a large spectrum of industries, including Hip Hop Closet, a retail designer of hip hop clothing, and Bldg Blok, a company that allows users to explore the historical background of New York City.
The students have had the opportunity to add real-world experience to their resumes and the employers are also enjoying the program.
“Every day I get emails from employers thanking the department and telling me that they appreciate their interns,” said Natalie Fabe, director of external relations and special programs for SBS.