Second Annual Tech and Job Fair at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center

By Athena Dawson | [email protected]

On Saturday Jan. 27, the Queens Borough President’s office hosted their second annual Queens Tech and Job Fair at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Dozens of people showed up in their professional attire with their resumes in tow to network with the participating companies. The  Queens Tech & Job Fair featured many workshop and networking opportunities targeted towards people of color and disadvantaged residents who were interested in the tech industry. Some of the companies and organizations featured included JobsFirstNYC, Hood Code, Greater Nexus,  All Star Code, and Urban Upbound. Residents interested in one-on-one mentoring met with the Black Cornell Tech Student Association in partnership with Meta.

Deputy Borough President Ebony Young explained the importance of the event for the local community. “This all came from the problem right, there is a HR&A report commissioned by Google and Tech NYC that gives a whole synopsis around the state of tech in New York City and unfortunately Brown and Black people sit at the bottom of that report.” 

Networking at the Queens Tech and Job Fair

Young emphasized the importance of creating an ecosystem to nurture local talent and push them into tech. “The ecosystem, really from the borough president, starts with how do we inform people differently? That’s why we have Sky High and JobsFirst here to really look at artificial intelligence using that as a skills based analysis to look at what are your entry points and skills,”  she said.

Many of the residents, like 27-year-old Malik Dixon, an IT admin, were eager to network for opportunities. “I wanted to see what else is out there, if there’s anything that I might not know that is recommended by someone else. Honestly it’s mostly about networking right now… even if you have the skills you have to know someone,” he said. 

For 28-year-old Ph.D. student Liam Albright, his position on the executive board of Cornell Tech Black Student Association aids in fostering inclusivity and equity within the tech space. He felt the job fair was a way to encourage more people to branch into the tech industry. “We’re basically providing general mentorship and advice for anyone interested in careers in tech and higher education in tech. Giving advice on how they can get involved and boost their resume… just general advice for breaking into the tech field.”

Job seekers gather at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center for the second annual Queens Tech and Job Fair

The job fair is part of the borough president’s office’s multi leveled initiative to build Queens into a technology hub. In July, Richards and Young visited Lagos Nigeria, dubbed the Silicon Valley of Africa to incorporate some of their success into the creation of a Black tech hub in Queens. The initiative has already created Greater Nexus through the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. Opened in 2022, Greater Nexus is a brand new, state of the art co-working hub located in downtown Jamaica.

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