Civic Hall is the nation’s leading center for learning and collaboration focused on advancing civic technology and problem-solving for the public good.
In Feb of 2016 Civic Hall, and a developer partner RAL and Affiliates Inc. (RAL) were selected as the winners of a public bid process offered by the New York City Economic Development Corporation to develop a 250,000 square foot technology-focused commercial center near Union Square at the intersection of 14th street and Irving Place.
Civic Hall and RAL’s proposal included the creation of a new 80,000 square foot community facility to be called Civic Hall @ Union Square which comprised a 40,000 square foot digital skills training center, a 300 person conference center and extensive collaborative workspace for the development of technologies and solutions for the public good.
When announced, Mayor Bill de Blasio heralded Civic Hall @ Union Square as a critical component of New York City Works, the City’s initiative to spur 100,000 jobs with good wages over the next decade. In August 2018, the project received final unanimous approval by the full NYC City Council which followed previous unanimous approval votes by the City Council’s Land Use Committee, the City Planning Commission, and the Community Board of District 3. Civic Hall is now engaged in an extensive planning process engaging with local and citywide community organizations working to provide skills training and job opportunities to New Yorkers in need. Civic Hall is also embarking on a two-year capital campaign culminating with the opening of the facility in the fall of 2020.
Inside Civic Hall @ Union Square
The new Civic Hall @ Union Square will occupy six full floors of the new building. Three of the floors will house Civic Hall’s Digital Learning Center, where multiple local workforce providers including Per Scholas, CUNY, Mouse.org, and FedCap, will run programs providing training to thousands of New Yorkers per year including students, teachers, immigrants, physically disabled, and the elderly individuals in 16 digital skills training rooms. One floor will house a “state of the art” 300 person capacity conference center, and two floors will provide collaborative workspace for individuals, civic tech startups, and organizations all working to develop solutions in the public interest.
The Digital Learning Center will also provide training programs and resources for nonprofit and government agency staff and other professionals working in the public sector. Andrew Rasiej, Civic Hall Founder & CEO, says,
“The idea is to create a fully integrated new community center at the crossroads of New York City’s technology district that will allow all New Yorkers regardless of background to develop digital skills and thrive in the 21st century economy of New York and beyond.”
Read more about Civic Hall @ Union Square Developments:
Construction Begins on Union Square Tech Training Center – NYCEDC, Aug 2019
Civic Hall receives $5m transformational gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies – Craig Newmark Philanthropies, July 2019
Union Square tech hub gets $2 million to reinvent digital training – Crains, Nov 2018
Union Square tech hub secures key approval from City Council Panel – Crains, Aug 2018
Union Square Tech center gets $100,000 grant from Microsoft – amNY, Aug 2018
New York City Unveils Plans for Union Square Tech Hub Project – GovTech, Feb 2017
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Shows Off Design for Planned Tech Hub – TechCrunch, Feb 2017
New York City’s Tech Community Is Getting A $250 Million Home Base At Union Square – Fast Company, Dec 2016
Watch the announcement here:
Digital Learning Center
Despite the increasingly central role technology is playing across all sectors of society, many community organizations and government agencies are still not able to optimize their internal technology capacities. In fact, out of 80 nonprofits surveyed by Civic Hall in late 2017, 100% expressed a need for professional training around digital skills with the most interest being in classes on data science and analytics, cybersecurity, digital fundraising, and data-driven advocacy and marketing. In response, Civic Hall formed the Digital Learning Center (DLC), which offers professional development opportunities to two sectors that represent and serve all New Yorkers, and that also lag far behind in digital literacy: nonprofits and government.
We piloted these four digital skills workshops in 2018: Data Driven Marketing for Nonprofits, Human-Centered Design for Nonprofits, Understanding and Improving Cybersecurity for Nonprofits and Mission Driven Businesses, and Ethical Data Collection for Nonprofits. Learn more about their results of our 2018 pilots and our plans for 2019 and beyond here!
In 2018, Civic Hall engaged with 60+ community organizations in the planning process.
Civic Hall’s vision for Union Square is to support all New Yorkers in learning new digital workforce skills, connecting them with good paying jobs and, in turn, connecting the companies of New York City’s technology industry with communities who have too long been on the under-resourced side of the digital divide. We would like to thank our major partners and supporters in this process which include Cognizant Foundation, the Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, and Microsoft.
In partnership with New York’s diverse workforce ecosystem – local workforce training organizations, employers, the City of New York, workforce development funders – Civic Hall is realizing this vision to develop the overall operational plan for Civic Hall @ Union Square. Organizations engaged to date include:
- Academy for Software Engineering, 1199 SEIU, Baruch College, CAMBA, Center for Employment Opportunities, Code Cooperative, CUNY, Computer Science for All, Cooperate Inc, C4Q, DC37, Educational Alliance, FedCap
- General Assembly, Goodwill of Greater NY and Northern NJ, Henry Street Settlement, Here to Here, HOPE and Sustainable South Bronx, JobsFirstNYC, Knowledge House, LaGuardia Community College, Lower East Side Employment Network (LESEN), Markle Foundation, Mouse.org, Nontraditional Employment for Women, NPower
- NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication, NYC Economic Development Corporation, NYC Employment & Training Coalition, NYC Mayor’s Office of Tech & Innovation, NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities , NYC Stem Education Network
- OATS (Older Adults Technology Services), Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, Osborne, Per Scholas, Samaschool, Robin Hood Foundation, Seedco, Tech Talent Pipeline, The Door, Upwardly Global, Workforce Professionals Training Institute, YearUp
In addition to ensuring access to digital skills training for all New Yorkers, Civic Hall is also focused on serving its surrounding community and is developing partnerships with local organizations including the Lower East Side Employment Network, The Door, and the Educational Alliance.
Please keep checking back for our latest updates on this project!