This fall, the Brooklyn Recovery Corps (BRC) Internship Program returns for its third year of engaging students in a “living learning classroom” experience by partnering them with Central Brooklyn-based small businesses and non-profits.
In 2021, former New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, as one of his final acts in office passed the NYC Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan: Building Generational Wealth, which found Medgar Evers College receiving an historic $20 million grant. This historic honorarium opened the door for the launch of the Brooklyn Recovery Corps (BRC) at Medgar Evers College.
The official start of the 2023-24 experience is Oct. 1 and runs through May 2024. The new cohort of interns went through a series of group interviews and a one-day Boot Camp training on soft skills to prepare them for their placements.
By matching interns with local nonprofits, the BRC is not just helping these non-profits rebuild after the pandemic but helping them reimagine their business portfolio moving into the future.
For 15 hours a week, BRC interns learn new skills and are mentored by everyday entrepreneurs’ and business leaders, who share with interns why they started their business and the importance of keeping the doors open. It’s the kind of experience that Peter Holoman, the Senior Director of Advancement and Strategic Partnerships, feels is a crucial hands-on experience that carries far more dividends than your standard internship experience.
“From what we’re learning and what we’ve seen, the importance of a BRC is that you’re not going to find too many internships where you’re literally right in the community doing the things that you love to do or are interested in doing and are doing it with people, in most cases, that look like you and are working around the issues that impact the community,” he said. “Businesses love it because these are small businesses that can’t afford to pay a regular staff person. Here it is, you have an intern who has this skill set that you would have to pay from the outside and you’re getting it for free.”
Some of the BRC’s local nonprofit partners, (defined as organizations with 50 or less employees located in Central Brooklyn), include the Brownsville Community Justice Center, Ebaata Skincare, the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights, and Representative Yvette D. Clarke’s office and a host of others.
The BRC onboards students for fall and again in spring. The fall 2023 application has closed and will reopen towards the end of the semester for spring 2024.The Eligibility criteria is as follows:
- Participants must be degree-seeking students.
- Possess a 2.5 GPA or higher
- Attend mandatory orientation, workshops and training
Applicants go through an application process then to group interviews, a one-day Boot Camp to help interns strengthen their soft skills. By working directly with the CEOs, founders, and upper-level executives of these local nonprofits, students oftentimes come away with unexpected benefits such as being offered employment opportunities according to Holoman.
“With a standard internship, you get whoever your internship supervisor is,” he said. “Our people are working with the CEO, the founder or the owner who are saying why they started their business and this is why they do things the way they do them. And in the process, you’ve connected to their passion as to why they created this business. I think that’s a critical piece to that too. Some of these partners like the idea of taking a promising younger person under their wing because they like the work they’re doing. They see the potential in them.”