The Barclays Center is looking to fill a couple thousand jobs as it gets set to open, although there are 10 times as many applicants as there are positions. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
They lined up in front of Saint Francis College in waves, all coming in at their scheduled time in hopes of getting a job at the new Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets.
"I'm currently unemployed," said Fort Greene resident Crystal Gothie. "That's why I'm here."
"I'm working now but I want an opportunity to work at the Barclays Center because it's a good opportunity," said Flatbush resident Yael Maynard.
Nearly 20,000 people applied for 2,000 jobs, most of which are part-time positions.
"If it's part-time, full-time, as long as it's a job," said Canarsie resident Audrey Smith. "That's what's important."
88 percent of the applicants come from Brooklyn. 47 percent of them live in public housing.
'We reached out in a grassroots fashion," said Forest City Ratner's Ashley Cotton. "We spoke at churches. We stuffed the NYCHA residences with mailers and let the word out through clergy and elected officials and community boards."
That strategy worked.
"There was a notice posted outside my apartment building and I read it," said Sheepshead Bay resident Tahrik Francis. "I went online and signed up."
The arena is looking to fill jobs from entry-level to mid-management.
"I'm looking to be an usher and ticket taker," said Bedford-Stuyvesant resident Jamal Mapp. "Take people's tickets, direct them in the right direction. Interact with people. Show off my people skills. Pump them up for the game."
Wednesday's initial screening was done by the city. Those who are qualified get an interview later with Barclays Center reps.
The city says this step helps link them to employment at the arena or elsewhere by putting applicants information into the city's job resource database.
"We're going to be able to help a lot of them," said Small Business Services Commissioner Rob Walsh. "That's the good news, given the size of this. More importantly, we've now touched them and we can refer them to other jobs we have, whether it's the new fairway that's opening up in Manhattan, hotels, restaurants, whatever it is."
Most say they'll take any job. But working at the arena is what attracts them.
"I love basketball and I love my borough and I'm looking forward to work as a usher, ticket person," said East New York resident Donte Brown.
The Barclays Center hopes to have its staff in place by mid-August to start training. The arena opens on Sept. 28.