The Brooklyn Tech Triangle Internship Program, which was launched this past summer as a pilot program, is continuing throughout the fall and spring, and organizers hope to have at least 50 student interns next summer.
The program is sponsored by the New York City Department of Small Business Services, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle and New York City College of Technology (City Tech). Its goal is to help train and prepare students for jobs in the growing tech sector.
The interns, who are all City Tech students, are usually skilled in web programming and development, design, and advanced manufacturing and engineering.
A wide variety of firms, many of them start-ups, have used the interns’ services. Some of them include Building Block, a virtual walking tour company that has designed an app with historical information about Brooklyn neighborhoods; Impact Simulations, which designs virtual games to help retail food service employees learn company rules and policies; and Zignage, which provides digital signage and related services.
A source connected with the program said, “The city is focusing a lot of attention on the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. It has 57,000-odd college students in a small area and close to 10,000 current tech jobs, which is expected to grow to 18,000. There’s a lot of opportunity out there” to connect these local students with rapidly expanding companies that may need their skills, the source added.
Geoffrey Gelman, chief financial officer of Zignage, has used the services of several City Tech interns. “We had six interns total in the summer and have a few more in the fall,” he said.
Several of the interns, he said, were assigned to research projects involving open-source software technology.
“They were able to finish their initial round of projects rather quickly. Then they got into longer-term prjects. They were very bright and able to work independently. We had periodic presentations that they did very well,” said Gelman.
He added that because the students documented their projects, “we were able to recreate what they did after they left.”
The firm, located in the Clocktower Building in DUMBO, started out making digital signs, such as LCD screens in public places, but has since expanded into other fields, such as recording college lectures and posting them online for students.
One of the interns, Atikay McFarlane, is an international student from Grenada. “This is my second semester with this program and at this internship. I’m enhancing my designing skills and finding out whether this is a field I want to pursue in the future.
“I am updating the company’s packages, doing a little detail editing, illustrating in different ways how the program they’re developing can be used. It’s a great opportunity, and I would encourage other students or interns in the field to try it out,” she said.
All in all, more than three-quarters of the summer employers wanted to retain their interns or sign on new ones.