BROOKLYN NAVY YARD – This morning, Borough President Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza joined up at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to reveal plans for an ambitious new education project: a multi-million dollar STEAM center for Brooklyn high-schoolers.
The center, which focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (STEAM), received a $5 million investment from Borough Hall, part of a larger $25 million allocation Borough President Adams has made to STEAM education in Brooklyn.
While the new center has yet to be built out within the Navy Yard’s enormous Building 77, Adams and Carranza went on a tour of the space, a blank canvas where construction will soon create a first-of-its-kind education center for students.
Students will have access to computer labs, construction spaces, a TV broadcasting soundstage, a culinary education kitchen and more when construction is completed.
Brooklyn STEAM Center Principal, Kayon Pryce, described the center as “a simulatory experience” to prepare students for college or a career. While preparing students for higher education is part of the goal, administrators assured those gathered that students would be able to attain experience and certifiations—through OSHA, in forklift operation, with Microsoft programs—that would prepare them to directly enter the workforce if they so choose.
That ties in with the Navy Yard’s stated goal of creating 3,000 middle-class jobs in Brooklyn, according to Navy Yard CEO David Ehrenberg. He stressed the importance of putting the STEAM Center directly into Building 77, envisioning students networking with working professionals while they ride the elevator to class and work, respectively.
For Borough President Adams, whether the end goal is jobs or college, he’s focused on investing in the future of Brooklyn youth.
“I got tired of putting handcuffs on 11-year-old children that didn’t know how to read or write,” said Adams of his time in the NYPD. “We can have a pipeline to prison or a pipeline to employment.”
Besides funding infrastructure, Adams said, the STEAM Center would focus on real-world education, job skills and capacity building to serve students in their lives outside of the classroom.
“The bricks and mortar do not matter if you’re not building people,” he said. “We’re building people with this investment.”
Juniors and Seniors from eight Brooklyn High Schools will have access to the facilities once they open, working with a half-day model to split their education between traditional classroom academics and the STEAM Center’s Career Technical Education (CTE).
Chancellor Carranza praised the center for its innovation and its hands-on model that prepares students for “college and careers.”
“This is the education of the future,” he added, “But more importantly, it’s the education of right now.”