The opening of the brand-new Wegmans Grocery store late October in Brooklyn Navy Yard not only has meant more organic and fresh food options for Central Brooklyn and but also employment opportunities for the area’s local residents and a nice shot in the arm of adrenalin for the BNY’s employment center to boot!

Celebrating twenty years this year, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation’s Employment Center on Tuesday released a report boasting a record-breaking year: The center was responsible for connecting 589 people to jobs in Fiscal Year 2019, marking a 28 percent increase from last year and the highest number of new recruits to join the Yard in a single year since its founding in 1999.

A whopping 214 of the 589 newly employed were at Wegmans, representing 36 percent of the center’s new hires, with nearly 40 percent of those new hires being public housing residents. In fact, the employment center has been most effective in helping to facilitate employment for the area’s most under-resourced and under-employed residents, including veterans, the formerly incarcerated and less skilled workers.

Four in five (79 percent) of the center’s overall new hires’ highest level of education is a high school diploma, GED or less; and approximately a fifth (18 percent) experienced long-term unemployment and/or were previously incarcerated or convicted.

“As a mission-driven nonprofit, our Employment Center serves a critical role in connecting local residents to quality jobs at the Yard,” said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “We’re incredibly proud of these latest numbers and of our staff’s hard work in connecting local residents to jobs at Wegmans over the past year.”

The average wage for the employment center’s new hires was $16.14/hour or, for a full-time worker, $2,582/month before taxes.

Iku Ohashi, a longtime Brooklyn resident, applied for a position through the Employment Center after learning about the Yard last year at Open House NY. He landed the job with new tenant and New Lab graduate Truebird – an automated micro-café company moving to Building 77 – and now works on their design team as a Sr. Mechanical Design Engineer.

“Working with the EC allowed me to connect to Truebird at the right time in their growth,” said Ohashi. “I’m excited to continue working on all of [their] cool products.”

This year, the Navy Yard also hosted 155 interns working with 63 different Navy Yard employers. Seventy percent of interns were Brooklyn residents and 50 percent were CUNY students, according to BNYDC.

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