Brooklyn Navy Yard training program helps increase New Yorkers' path to meaningful employment
New Yorkers with modest job prospects now have a path to meaningful employment, thanks to the Second Chance Through Cycling initiative.
The four-week Bike Path program at the Brooklyn Navy Yard provides training for residents to become bike mechanics.
Ken Podzibah, president and CEO of Bike New York said on Thursday that for the individuals who are training, earning their bike mechanic certification holds a lot of power.
"Finding good, stable, decent paying job is very challenging these days, especially when you've had so many barriers thrown at you in your life. So what Bike Path does, it strives to level the playing field. Give people second chances," Podzibah said.
Jed Marcus, president of One Community, the organization that sparked the idea of the Bike Path training program, said that despite tough circumstances, things look up.
"It's people who have great resilience, great desire, great resourcefulness and live lives that are really challenging, that have a lot of instability, that have a lot of risk, and so when you say we can offer you a job that's stable, that's a union job, that has benefits, all of a sudden their lives open up," Marcus said.
Quantae Herring said he will complete his training in about one week. He added that he's got an extra special connection to his work at the program.
"I've been restoring my own bicycle for my dad. My dad has a bad leg. It's an extreme sentimental value. Bigger than anything that money can buy," Herring said.
While the program has taught him about mechanics of bicycles, he said he learned some special things about his make-up too.
"Throughout my life, you know, I always felt like I had to be there for myself, so I didn't find myself in a lot of situations where I was helping others or changing others' days," Herring said. "I learn that I can really help others and change people's view on things just from using my words and knowledge."
Trainees wrapped up their session on Thursday by offering thanks to Assembly Member Kim Gallagher whose $10,000 grant will help keep the Bike Path program funded for the rest of the year.