Collab-Orators City Youth Corps


Empowering youth with project-based learning

The Collab-Orators City Youth Corp (CCYC) is a scalable, hands-on learning program that combines advanced manufacturing and rapid prototyping with STEAM and the Four Cs to teach youth the highly sought-after skills that professionals employ on a daily basis to earn their living.  In learning these skills, CCYC provides youth ages 16-24 the exposure, knowledge, and access to best-in-class mentors, a pipeline of lifelong learning, and direct engagement with the innovations that are fueling our future.  In developing these skills and building these relationships, the apprentices in CCYC build the foundational skills and human capital they'll need for a successful future.  

  • Woodworking from Basics to Advanced

  • Low Cost Robotics and Electronics Courses

  • Guitar Making, both Electric and Acoustic

  • Apprenticeships with Member Organizations

  • CAD with Solidworks and Rhino

  • Rapid Prototyping with Laser Cutters and 3D Printers

  • Designing for and Operating CNC Machines

  • Proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite


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In the spring of 2019, The Collab-Orators was awarded a grant from The Snider Foundation.  Having recently expanded into our new 14,000 sq. ft space in Brooklyn, the timing could not have been better. The grant allowed us to begin testing a pilot program with Reconnect Brooklyn, one of our partner organizations, where young men ages 18-24 would be paid $15 an hour to learn advanced manufacturing and rapid prototyping.

For years, our team of industrial designers, fabricators, design technologist, architects and others at Collab believed that the old methods of workforce development needed to be reinvented. To that end, we created a project-based learning curriculum to teach advanced manufacturing to youth through a curriculum that starts with an introduction to the tools and equipment found in a wood shop and ends with a proficient understanding of woodworking, welding, rapid prototyping, advanced machine operation and CNC routing.

(Participants learn to use every piece of equipment in the wood shop from the planer through the CNC)

Our program uses a project-based learning methodology to educate and train individuals on the processes of ideating, designing and manufacturing products. Each project has an objective, and the final product is a physical manifestation of the skills, successes and challenges involved in building the particular project, providing a physical playbook for the individual to improve the next time around.

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Because the future or work and entrepreneurship is at the center of our mission, we decided to add another layer to the program. We asked the individuals to design and manufacture their own tables for Reconnect’s Annual Fundraising Gala with the goal of selling the tables at the event. 

Giving the young men the opportunity to design a table from their imagination gave them the chance to tap into what inspires them. Translating one’s ideas into a physical piece is a powerful way to keep a person connected to the work they are exploring. We are in the process of expanding the program, and are excited about harnessing the insights gained from the pilot to replicate and expand it.


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Edwing’s love of sports and fitness were a huge inspiration for him when designing his table. He was thrilled to bring his vision to life of a table made from wood, yet shaped like a football with his favorite sports team. Edwing is highly energetic and loves to see things transform in real time. He felt very connected to working on the lathe, and welding. It was powerful for him to combine his own movement with that of the machines to create pieces for his table. Edwing is a natural born leader. He is entrepreneurial. The last 3-months with us has shown Edwing that he wants to have his own business.

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Rocky is imaginative, creative, and has a fantastic design aesthetic. His table was inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge. Over the last few months, Rocky has turned his design and build training into a finished product of his first table. Along his journey, he has been introduced to new skills from painting to industrial design. Rocky loved recreating the Brooklyn Bridge using Adobe Illustrator and converting his files for CNC Production. Through the project, he has identified that he loves designing in illustrator and painting, which he finds meditative.

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Frank is analytical, inquisitive and connected to the way the world works. He has a deep desire to create a meaningful and impactful life for himself and those around him. Frank decided he wanted to create a gift for Father Jim, the Executive Director of Reconnect Brooklyn. All of the guys have been inspired by Father Jim. Frank spent a majority of his time gaining knowledge of the physical relationship between translating an idea into a design and the machine that will produce it. His natural curiosity led him to create a beautiful image of the Brooklyn Bridge with a poem for Father Jim. By working with machines, and building physical pieces, Frank realized that he wants to develop software and is now enrolled at CUNY New York City College of Technology.



Women's Sewing Collective


Creating leaders in the community

The Women's Sewing Collective (WSC) is a women owned and operated B-Corporation supported by The Collab-Orators. The WSC provides well-paying jobs for marginalized women while teaching the 21st century advanced manufacturing and design skills they need to succeed in this new era.  From management to manufacturing, the WSC creates economic opportunities, mentorship and financing for women in neighborhoods where resources and opportunities are scarce.

  • Paid $20 dollars an hour as a starting wage

  • Women are shareholders of a for-profit company

  • 80/20 split between production and learning advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping and other 21st century skills

  • Granted shares that vest over a 24 month period

  • Access to the books and records of the company at all time

  • Women start their own businesses using their shares in the company as startup capital


an immersive theatrical production

A human experience designed to create EMPATHY, and put that empathy to work to solve some of our world's biggest challenges.


social sense

An experience designed to create Empathetic Reasoning

The only source of knowledge is experience

Albert Einstein