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Students Explore Downtown Brooklyn's Emerging Tech Industry

A Downtown Brooklyn Partnership initiative aims to channel local students into Brooklyn's thriving tech economy
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, BK Reader
Talent Connect Office Week. Photo credit: Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

More than 40 students from several Brooklyn colleges joined the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for Talent Connect Open Office week, an initiative that aims to integrate students with the tech economy in and around the neighborhood.

The Talent Connect Open Office Series, which launched last November, is an opportunity for college students and entry-level professionals to meet and greet Brooklyn companies in the field of tech, engineering, design and more.

"The goal of our Talent Connect initiative is to develop a feeder system of talent for early career jobs and internships by bridging a dialogue between the schools and institutions in Downtown Brooklyn with the neighboring tech companies," said Regina Myer, president of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. "By building a more open community, we can boost job opportunities for residents, while also providing tech companies with direct access to the talent pool in their backyard."

Students from seven colleges, including LIU Brooklyn, City Tech and NYU Tandon School of Engineering, were able to select which of the offices they visited over the week, so each company hosted a different group. The students' fields of study ranged from computer science to marketing to psychology.

"So far, the program has been a success," said Myer. "The Open Office week of company visits resulted in enthusiastic and productive conversations between students and CEOs".

The visits included office tours, presentations from founders and informative Q&A sessions, and gave the students an opportunity to see the real-world applications of the skills they are currently learning, explore career paths, and hear about jobs and internships.

Participating companies included consultancy and digital studio L+R, which helps companies build and design digital products such as applications and websites; HappyFun Corp., a product engineering firm that builds programs, applications and designs websites for companies, and counts Facebook, Amazon, and Pepsi amongst its clients; as well as healthcare startup Sesame, which is trying to bring down the cost of healthcare by filling medical appointment slots for doctors who have cancellations, among others.

"Too often, companies are completely unaware of the talent being developed right next door, and students not privy to opportunities at these companies," said Myer. "As a next step, we are rolling out a jobs and internships board to further facilitate connections between the students and companies. The jobs board will have a particular focus on academic-year internships, which is one of the most effective ways to help get the most students in the door at the companies they're interested in."