Since its opening on September 28, 2012, Barclays Center has been a symbol of modern-day Brooklyn. Located at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in Downtown Brooklyn, the arena is the home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the WNBA’s New York Liberty. With an intimate seating configuration, the multipurpose arena opened with eight consecutive sellout shows by Jay-Z, and has also hosted major entertainers. The arena seats 17,732 for basketball and up to 19,000 for concerts, and has 101 luxury suites.
Prior to Barclays Center opening its doors, the leadership team (including Levy Restaurants, AEG, Brookfield Properties, and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment) met with AHRC New York City and committed to including people with developmental disabilities throughout their candidate pool.
“We believe strongly that every individual who has the desire, motivation and drive to contribute deserves a chance to be a part of the Barclays Family,” said Chris Giacalone, Vice President of Hospitality & Strategy, for Levy’s Restaurant at Barclays Center.“
More than 75 people with developmental disabilities, with support from AHRC NYC, have joined the Barclays Center’s workforce since opening. AHRC NYC provides job coaches for Barclays’ employees with developmental disabilities who are on-site at the arena, making sure they understand their jobs and offering any assistance they may need.
“Without hesitation every single person we have been lucky enough to partner with from AHRC NYC meets all those criteria,” Giacalone said. “Our AHRC NYC extended family and team members bring enthusiasm, positivity and a curiosity that you don’t find often. Our interactions with our AHRC NYC team members are always the highlight of my day!”
“Everyone is treated equally with respect and dignity,” says Jose Valentin, Barclays Senior Concessions Manager. “We like that we come together as one big happy family. Diversity at Barclays Center is an essential component that embodies the spirit of the local community we represent and entertain.”
The AHRC NYC team members blend into Barclays Center’s fast-paced environment. They enjoy being part of a team. Chris knows precisely what makes them such great employees.
“What really stands to me is their desire to get it right,” he said. “They want to their job well and they take such pride in working at Barclays Center that it becomes infectious to the rest of our team members.
The workers appreciate and value the opportunity to work at high-profile venue.
“The careers provided by the Barclays Center since it opened have assisted over 75 New York City residents to become actively employed, productive tax paying citizens,” said Steve Towler, AHRC NYC’s Vice President of Programs and Business Development. “This helps set them on a path of future success leading toward self-sufficiency and life-changing opportunities.”
Hiring people with disabilities from AHRC NYC is a win-win for the employees and the company. “These incredible members of our community enhance the fans’ experience,” Chris said. “Their interactions are always genuine and meaningful. We simply could not perform as well we do without our partners and team members from AHRC NYC!”