When the Barclays Center announced that it was looking to hire, community organizers drew up a contract ensuring that local residents would be considered first.
After roughly three months in operation, members of Forest City Ratner and the Barclays Center announced that the numbers of employees was on par with targeted goals.
The Barclays Center announced at a Community Board 6 committee meeting on Monday that almost 2,000 people have been hired to date.
Of the 2,000 jobs, 80 percent are filled by Brooklyn residents. Furthermore, 35 percent are from community boards 2, 3, 6 and 8, which surround the arena. Also, 30 percent of all employees are New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents.
Ashley Cotton of Forest City Ratner said they used a variety of methods to get the word out to local residents. Approximately 32,000 people applied to fill the roughly 2,000 open positions. Cotton said that she personally went into NYCHA buildings and slid fliers under doors.
One of the organizations that helped recruit and train individuals was Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD). Local residents voiced their concern at the meeting that BUILD recently closed their doors for good. In a community benefits agreement, it was stated that the Barclays Center was to work with BUILD on ensuring that employees come from the local community.
"The concern is that the community's ability to place employees before Forest City Ratner is in danger by the absence of BUILD and the ambiguity that's in this contract," said one board member.
"Every single step of this hiring process had community engagement," said Cotton, assuring those at the meeting that would not change. She went on to say that BUILD was "a big part" of the hiring process but was not the only part of community involvement.
Of the 2,000 jobs, she said, only 120 employees were referred by BUILD.
However, of those 2,000 jobs, only 100 are full-time positions. One community member asked if the part-time employees were receiving a salary or being paid minimum wage. All of the workers are members of Local 100 or 32BJ, which means they have union benefits, but do not receive healthcare coverage.
"These are union jobs with union wages set through a collective bargaining agreement," Cotton said. The people are getting a lot of hours.