Report: Higher ed pumps nearly $3 billion annually into Downtown Brooklyn

September 30, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
NYU-Poly’s campus at MetroTech, with part of the exhibition “The Truth Is I See You” by Hank Willis Thomas in the foreground. Photo by Mary Frost
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Downtown Brooklyn’s colleges, universities and law school annually pump nearly $3 billion into the local economy, generate nearly $17 million in state and local tax revenue, and provide more than 22,000 jobs, a study released by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has found.

The results, released Tuesday night, represent the first analysis of the combined impact and benefits of Downtown Brooklyn’s nine institutions of higher education.

These include NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Long Island University, Pratt Institute, St. Francis College, St. Joseph’s College, NYC College of Technology, Empire State College, Brooklyn Law School and Berkeley College.

Released in conjunction with the New York City Office of Workforce Development and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the study comes as the Partnership formally kicks off its Brooklyn Education Innovation Network (BE.IN).

“By the numbers, Downtown Brooklyn is truly a college town,” Edward Summers, executive director of BE.IN said in a statement. “Not only are our academic institutions helping to drive economic growth, but by working together through our Brooklyn Education Innovation Network, they’re connecting local students with local jobs and providing them with the skills they need to succeed in Downtown Brooklyn’s burgeoning innovation economy.” 

Over the next three years, BE.IN will focus on building academic and industry partnerships, developing internship programs with the goal of increasing the number of local job and internship prospects for students and alumni, the Partnership said. The aim is to enhance the college town experience in the district, and forge institutional connections.

BE.IN is an alliance of nine Downtown Brooklyn higher education institutions, which was announced in 2014 by Mayor Bill de Blasio and received $200,000 in seed funding from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, along with contributions from the participating colleges and universities to focus on connecting with local industry to secure jobs, internships, and academic partnerships.

“The city is deeply invested in expanding access to quality jobs and internships for our students, and we are thrilled to see this investment in Brooklyn’s homegrown talent come to fruition,” Katy Gaul-Stigge, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, said in a statement.

“Through our investment in the Career Pathways framework, industry partnerships, and today’s BE.IN alliance, New Yorkers are getting the training, education, and opportunities needed to become active participants in the city’s 21st century workforce and thriving business communities can see the talent they want in their own backyard,” she added.

“BE.IN crystallizes for the world what the Downtown Brooklyn community has long known to be true – our colleges and universities are a second-to-none economic engine creating jobs for the job markets of today and tomorrow,” BP Adams said.

“Billions of dollars and thousands of jobs are numbers no one can deny, and the Brooklyn Education Innovation Network will help our borough ensure the popularity of our brand translates into prosperity for all,” Adams said. “Making connections between institutions of higher learning and local businesses will generate great internship and career opportunities for our student population, as well as foster the creativity and entrepreneurship that will keep Brooklyn the center of the innovation universe.”

Highlights of BE.IN’s efforts to connect with local industry thus far include Tech Triangle U, an annual week-long series of events to connect the tech, creative, and academic communities in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, which will launch its third year in April 2016.

BE.IN events will continue throughout the fall, including a pitch contest for aspiring entrepreneurs on Nov. 5, where local students will pitch startup ideas for a chance to win $5,000 in seed funding.

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