Tuesday, January 21, 2014

BUILD commemorated on AtlanticYards.com web site as fostering employers' "competitiveness," not helping "vulnerable communities"

Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signatory Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development (BUILD) went out of business in November 2012, facing a debt to the Internal Revenue Service and a complaint to the state Attorney General over improper spending, with no apparent renewal of funding.

And a lawsuit from several who participated in an alleged "sham" training program persists.

But BUILD lives on, curiously, in a page on the official Atlantic Yards web site.

There's a logic to including a link about job training and placement, since no new partner has been added to the CBA. At the same time, this also allows for a redefinition of BUILD as serving employers, rather then community members:
BUILD’s mission was to foster the competitiveness and efficiency of Brooklyn employers by connecting them to local talent through the delivery of effective services that identified and cultivated capable and motivated employment seekers.
Services that BUILD provided:
BUILD was responsible for creating, launching, and maintaining a workforce development program connecting local employers as well as small and big businesses to local residents.
For nearly a decade BUILD worked to assist residents of Brooklyn who were looking to develop job skills and to secure employment. BUILD helped in the hiring of about 2000 employees at Barclays Center, most living in the surrounding area and NYCHA communities.

A different emphasis

BUILD's legacy website contains a farewell message from President Emeritus James Caldwell, right, which cites BUILD's mission "to foster economic self-sufficiency and prosperity among socio-economically vulnerable communities."

As noted below, BUILD in a previous version of its website similarly said it was "committed to supporting development as a means of creating economic opportunities to promote financial self-sufficiency and prosperity in socio-economically depressed communities."

The page at right includes a couple of element absent from the page on the Atlantic Yards website, including the slogan “Faith & Prayer Works” and Caldwell's "thank[ing] Jesus Christ for giving us the strength to help thousands of New Yorkers."

At the SEIS hearing

As I wrote, at the 2/27/13 hearing on the scope for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, several people referred to BUILD as if it were still active.

Darren Frazier testified as “a representative of the BUILD organization, James Caldwell is our CEO.” Frazier said he was a graduate of a BUILD customer service training program aimed to prepare people for work at the arena, and he was working at the Barclays Center.

Caldwell, who acknowledged a continued relationship with Forest City, said they were “just coming to say thank you... but we’re out of the business.”

BUILD's web site,  2006

The text:
BUILD is an organization committed to supporting development as a means of creating economic opportunities to promote financial self-sufficiency and prosperity in socio-economically depressed communities. Our community is filled with diversity, talent, intelligence and beauty, however our vibrancy is shrouded by stark statistical realities. Nearly 50% of Black men are unemployed, over 60% of our children are failing to meet educational standards, there are more Black men in prison than in college and the ranks of those ensnared in the economic underclass continue to swell.
BUILD recognizes that government and private development projects must work with local communities to ensure that traditionally marginalized and by-passed residents who are most in need of economic opportunities have equitable access to entrepreneurial, employment and other opportunities generated by those projects. Moreover, BUILD endeavors to secure community benefits that develops the infrastructural capacity of the community to sustain development projects.

BUILD's efforts are currently aimed at the following:
Co-developing a Community Benefits Agreement for Forest City Ratner Company's Atlantic Yards Development Project (inclusive of the Nets Arena).
Working with the Downtown Brooklyn Council to promote community benefits through the Downtown Brooklyn Development Plan.
Working with the Downtown Brooklyn Workforce Career Center to connect local community residents to employment opportunities.
Generating employment opportunities to combat the high unemployment in our community.
Developing resources and supports to promote entrepreneurial endeavors in our community.
From the Community Benefits Agreement

Some excerpts from the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement regarding BUILD.

No comments:

Post a Comment