In his efforts to break down barriers preventing underrepresented communities from attaining jobs in the tech industry, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards will host his inaugural Queens Tech Fair at the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s Greater Nexus co-working space on Saturday, Jan. 21.
The event is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Greater Nexus, located at 89-14 Parsons Blvd. The Queens Tech Fair will feature a litany of resources and interactive workshops geared toward Queens residents from disadvantaged communities with an interest in breaking into the industry:
- A free job skills assessment, in partnership with JobsFirstNYC and powered by leading artificial intelligence firm Skyhive
- Individualized education and workforce training services, in partnership with All Star Code, Emergent Works, Girls Who Code, Per Scholas, Pursuit and Urban Upbound
- An individualized hiring station, in partnership with entities looking to hire Queens residents, including Google, JetBlue, the Long Island City Partnership, Microsoft and T-Mobile
- Interactive technology workshops in virtual reality, gaming and more, in partnership with All Star Code, Tech: NYC, Unisphere Ideas and VEDX
- One-on-one mentoring opportunities, in partnership with Cornell Tech
- A “breaking barriers to entry” workshop, courtesy of Nigeria’s Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology
Underscoring the importance of ensuring equitable access to the tech field are the stark demographic and gender disparities that currently exist in the New York City tech industry workforce. Nearly 30% of city residents are Latin and 24% are Black, but Latin and Black residents hold just 12% and 11% of New York City tech jobs, respectively, according to a 2020 study by analytic firm HR&A Advisors. Meanwhile, half of New York City’s population identifies as female, but just 35% of tech jobs are filled by women.
Richards said his administration is committed to realizing the potential of the borough by making Queens a thriving hub of technology and innovation.
“That cannot happen, however, until the jobs being created in this sector every day are truly accessible to residents who would have otherwise been shut out,” Richards said. “I couldn’t be more excited to bring the first-ever Queens Tech Fair to southeast Queens and help unlock the unlimited potential of our borough. If you have an interest in the technology industry, please join us on Saturday.”
Young said that the Queens Tech Fair is a down payment on their administration’s push for change.
“Historic economic disinvestment across many of our Queens communities has held far too many families back for generations, but the days of being disadvantaged are done,” Young said.
The Queens Tech Fair is the fulfillment of a multi-pronged pledge Richards made in his 2022 State of the Borough address last June to build a borough economy on the cutting edge of innovation, all while expanding industry opportunities for all Queens residents, regardless of race, gender identity, ZIP code or socioeconomic status.
In October 2022, Richards and Young launched the Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge (QTIC) in partnership with the Queens Economic Development Corporation. The multi-month competition for Queens-based entrepreneurs — offering free businesses classes, mentorship opportunities and networking sessions, as well as $20,000 in seed funding for five winning local start-ups — has already received more than 70 applications with more than six weeks still to go before the March 1 application deadline.
Queens residents interested in participating in the Queens Tech Fair can register by visiting bit.ly/queenstechfair.