Friday, August 19, 2011

Yes, BUILD was responsible for that customer service training notice; today, BUILD issues broader invitation to apply for such training

So a representative of BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development) was, after all, responsible for the the questionable word-of-mouth solicitation for potential entrants into a 100-person training program seemingly associated with the Barclays Center arena.

And Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, who perhaps was not in a position to know full details, was wrong in telling me the info I had--circulated by the Community Board 8 District Manager--was wrong.

I called the solicitation questionable because it specified age limits and no criminal record, both of which are no-no's under state and federal law.

BUILD's notice

At around noon today, several hours after I published my original post, BUILD issued a notice (below) describing a somewhat similar training program, with information sessions to start Monday.

HospRetail

It does not specify age limits or no criminal record, but did suggest the possibility for work "in the retail and hospitality industries, both in, and around, the Arena."

The Retail and Hospitality Training Program will begin 9/6/01, with space for 25 individuals. BUILD requests that interested people RSVP for one of six information sessions, to be held August 22 through August 24, twice a day.

BUILD's message, sent to me and the District Managers of the three Community Boards (2,6,8) around the Atlantic Yards site, contained this guidance:
Please be advised that interested members of your community are urged to apply for BUILD's upcoming Hospitality and Retail training program. Participants are not guaranteed employment but will receive training that will give them a competitive advantage in today's tight job market. We look forward to your participation.
Program details

BUILD spokesman Lance Woodward, who circulated the notice, explained that the each of the six information sessions will have 25 spaces. The 25 people selected for the initial training program will be chosen from the 150 people at the initial six information sessions.

People at those initial information sessions--as well as at several future sessions--also will be eligible for any of the three additional training programs, each with 25 spaces. That means 100 people would go through training.

The training program will involve classes of approximately 20 hours per week over the first three weeks, internships of some 15 hours a week for the next three weeks--mostly on-the-floor work for retailers--and another 20 hours of class in the final week.

BUILD does not have a budget to pay those going through training, through transportation will be reimbursed. Funds for training come from BUILD's budget, which comes from Forest City Ratner as well as city job-training funds.

The training aims to place candidates in jobs at Forest City Ratner's malls, retail sites in the Downtown Brooklyn area, as well as at the arena. "We're basically going retailer to retailer," Woodward said.

Timing issues

I asked Woodward if the notice was issued in response to my posting. He said no, that "we were prepared to do this beforehand."

If so, the timing could be questioned--one District Manager indicated that it was very short notice, given that there was less full business day to circulate the information before the first information session.

Woodward responded that people can put their names on the list for future information sessions, and that an updated flyer will be issued.

He said he didn't know who was responsible for the notice circulated by Community Board 8. (I'll update this if I learn more from BUILD.)

I contacted CB 8 District Manager Michelle George, who said that she had gotten the notice from a BUILD representative (not Woodward).

In just one day, she noted, those associated with CB 8 had sent in the names of 50 potential candidates, indicating the significant hunger for even the possibility of a job.

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