Bed Stuy Restoration Corporation Takes Holistic Approach to Supporting Workers

 

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation has been providing employment services to Brooklyn residents for 50 years.

 

In 1967, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation was founded as the nation's first community development organization, with the mission to improve the quality of life for Central Brooklyn families. Its wide-ranging programs include workforce development, as well as cultural events and public health advocacy. This year, the organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary and a long record of success in addressing the needs of local residents.

“Restoration, since its inception, has been a comprehensive community development corporation,” says Jako Borren, Director of Program Operations at the organization. “It’s not just, ‘come in and we’ll help you find a job.’ It’s a holistic program that is so much more. If somebody comes in for a food stamp application, obviously that person could also be helped with a better job, or with finding a job.”

That food stamp applicant will be connected with job readiness training, career development, financial counseling, and job placement. Restoration Corporation also provides vocational training in food handling, security, and customer service.

BSRC’s support for community members continues after they get a job. “We continue to serve them with financial counseling because their income has changed and they now have the opportunity to save something, or pay off debt,” says Borren.

Last year, 450 local residents were placed into jobs by BSRC, and over 7,000 took part in the organization’s wide range of financial and employment services.

In recent years, BSRC has developed deeper relationships with local employers to identify higher-paying jobs for its clients and to tailor its training programs for the jobs that are in demand. More and more, the jobs its clients are getting pay more than $15 an hour, and starting wages are increasing even faster than the rising minimum wage.

After 50 years, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation has improved the quality of life of thousands of Central Brooklyn residents. In partnership with the Consortium for Worker Education, the organization is serving the community’s employment needs, but also its social and cultural needs, says Borren.

“We want people to have the means to take care of their family, but also to enjoy life.”