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150 Jobs Coming to South Bronx at Software Testing Center

By Eddie Small | July 9, 2014 3:48pm
 The upcoming software center in the Bronx is expected to bring 150 jobs to the borough.
The upcoming software center in the Bronx is expected to bring 150 jobs to the borough.
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Jerome Dazzell

PORT MORRIS — A piece of Silicon Alley is coming to The Bronx.

An IT job training nonprofit plans to open a massive software testing center in Port Morris this fall that will bring 150 jobs to the area.

Per Scholas, which is based in The Bronx, and the IT consulting company Doran Jones plan to open the roughly $1 million, three-story, 90,000-square-foot software testing center at 804 E. 138th St., near Willow Avenue.

Starting wages for the jobs will be $35,000 with benefits, and 80 percent of hires will be Per Scholas graduates.

Doran Jones also plans to move from its location on Water Street in lower Manhattan to The Bronx this fall so it can be closer to the software testing center, which may lead to about five or 10 job openings as well, likely in recruiting and office management.

About 40 percent of Per Scholas graduates come from the Bronx, and about 15, 25, 15 and 5 percent come from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, respectively. Angie Kamath, executive director of the New York site, said she expected the jobs to be distributed along roughly the same lines.

"The entry level software testers will all be sourced through Per Scholas," she said.

Senior testing managers will likely come from outside of Per Scholas, as they will need more years of experience, according to Kamath. However, the plan is to have the nonprofit's graduates rise to the manager level after spending a few years working.

Keith Klain, co-CEO of Doran Jones, hopes to see the center eventually expand to offer 500 jobs, but he stressed that the standard of hiring 80 percent of workers who are Per Scholas graduates would stay the same as it grows.

"A lot of folks who are based in the community will actually get access to the jobs, which they wouldn’t ordinarily," said Klain.

The project will be named the Urban Development Center, and Klain anticipates having the space available for work in September, with a ribbon cutting in October.

The name is meant to reflect the software center's location in New York City.

"Most people call their locations with vendors in other countries 'offshore development centers,'" Klain said in an email, "so seeing as we are building in The Bronx, we opted to call it an 'Urban Development Center.'"

Per Scholas was founded in 1995, and it aims to provide technology access, education, training and job placement services to people in underserved communities. It serves adults 18 and over with income levels at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Kamath was very enthusiastic about what this software center could do for the South Bronx, describing it as a chance to bring white collar jobs and a chance to enter the middle class into one of New York City's more impoverished neighborhoods.

"We have visions of The Bronx being the city’s next tech corridor, and we think that the success of this project is going to be the start of many good things to come to the Bronx," she said. "And it’s high time that it did."