November 23, 2015 - In September, a new crop of students took a trip to Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a tour, and later met rapper and actor 50 Cent. Not an everyday occurrence for the students, but just a typical day in the career of Venus Anderson in her role as Program Director for the Made in NY (MINY) Production Assistant (PA) Training Program.
As Program Director, Anderson supervises the program staff and acts as the main liaison between The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI), a non-profit that administers the MINY program and provides help to low-income New Yorkers receive living wage job opportunities. Anderson works with funders and helps to cultivate new and existing relationships with industry contacts. She manages the graduate’s two years of job placement assistance after the program, as well as assists the Director of Marketing and Outreach with recruitment by conducting interviews and facilitating information sessions.
After years of experience working as a Program Coordinator and then an Administrator teaching classes on resume and cover letter writing, Anderson was promoted in May of this year. The 32-year old from Staten Island says her job is rewarding.
“My interactions with the students have been great. I’ve always enjoyed helping people. I really enjoy being part of people’s career growth,” said Anderson. The students depend on her and the program staff to give them the knowledge of how to work on set and to provide the support they need to sustain a career within the industry.
Anderson recalls a moment when two students who graduated from the MINY PA program received a scholarship from the Theatrical Teamsters Local 817, and then went on to work for a production.
“They came back to my office and they couldn’t stop thanking me. It was like I had given them the golden ticket,” said Anderson.
As a graduate, herself, of the MINY PA program, Anderson believes she is better equipped to help the students because she understands their experiences. Before she got into the PA program, she was unemployed.
“It seemed like every job I applied for was looking for someone with years of experience. At the age of 24, I didn’t feel like anyone was taking me seriously, even if I did get an interview. Being in the program gave me hope. Hope that I could have a long career in the TV/Film industry,” said Anderson.
Anderson is determined to do as much as possible in her new role to make sure future graduates experience great success. One of her biggest priorities is to strengthen relationships with productions so students graduating from the PA program have more stability in employment opportunities. Even prior to entering the program, Anderson encourages those aspiring to careers in the entertainment sector to take advantage of the MINY PA training program.
“I never imagined that back in 2008, as a student of the program, I’d be where I am now. I feel like this program truly changes the lives of so many people who come in looking for an opportunity to work in the TV/Film industry” said Anderson.
The Made in NY PA Training program is a free training program that prepares unemployed and low-income New Yorkers for entry level positions in the entertainment industry. It was developed by The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in 2006, in partnership with BWI.