The Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation is one of 14 businesses citywide to receive a grant from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), as part of its Business Innovation Challenge.NYCEDC invited businesses to create a plan that would provide their employees with improved skill sets, career prospects and economic opportunities while at the same time helping the company get high employee retention rates, organizational performance and revenues.A panel of judges selected 14 winners, who will receive $25,000, plus advisory services from the city to implement their plans.The SBIDC already runs an in-house workforce program and has an open dialogue with the businesses in the community. Executive Director David Meade and Director of Workforce Development Justin Collins said that the grant will help ensure that residents have as many employment opportunities as possible.We have a great relationship with business owners in Sunset Park and are usually the first to know who is hiring, Meade said. We screen those in the program and help them with job placement.More specifically, the grant will allow the non-profit to focus on the influx of creative industries coming into Sunset Park, such as Blue Marble Ice Cream and Maker Bot.We want to find out more about them and hopefully create local employment opportunities for those companies, Meade said.Collins explained that the traditional manufacturers in the area have an aging workforce. We want to make sure that people have access to those jobs and have current skill sets, he said.People are aging out and these older companies, as well as the new ones, have real needs to fill in terms of employment, added Meade. Part of this award is to get a better sense of what skill sets are needed. Then maybe [we can form a] bigger training program that will help people get ready to go with these companies.Meade said that he decided to apply for the grant because of the organizations mission.We are a non-profit helping businesses and local residents, and we thought this would be a great opportunity to take our workforce into the next level, he said.
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