October 9, 2018 — An unprecedented partnership between New York State’s economic development agency Empire State Development (ESD), Bronx Community College (BCC) and Local 52 of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) was unveiled on Tuesday, October 2 — The BCC Film and Television Production Crafts Training Program. When it is launched in the Winter of 2019, the 14-week course will train up to 100 students annually for work in various trades in New York’s robust big and small screen entertainment industry.
The effort is being supported by a $375,000 grant from ESD and a $125,000 grant from the Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development of The City University of New York (CUNY), thanks to a generous contribution from JPMorgan Chase. The program will teach students technical skills, such as basic carpentry, electric, tool usage and shop safety, as well as “life skills” like problem solving, teamwork and communication. Students who complete the program will receive a Bronx Community College/CUNY Continuing Education credential recognized by Local 52.
An additional goal of the program is to assist Local 52 in the diversification of its workforce — a point made by BCC President Thomas A. Isekenegbe.
“With our well-established associate degree program in Media and Digital Film Production, Bronx Community College is uniquely positioned to recruit and train students of color, including women, for rewarding careers in film and television production,” said President Isekenegbe. “Thanks to our partnership with IATSE Local 52 and New York State, we will be able to offer customized technical training in high-demand crafts to students from the Bronx and beyond.”
After completing their training at BCC, graduates will be referred to Local 52 for employment. Trainees that gain enough practical work experience, improve their skills and meet the requirements will be eligible for union membership, opening the door to lifelong vocations.