Photos: Building Skills NY
JULY 8, 2021, BRONX, NY – Building Skills New York (BSNY), which helps provide New York residents with good-paying jobs at local construction sites in underserved communities, today announced a new collaboration with Bronx Community College (BCC) to provide skills development and pathways to professional advancement for workers in the construction industry.
The goal of the Construction Career Accelerator (CCA) Program, made possible by a grant from the New York State Department of Labor, is twofold: to help BSNY participants already placed on construction jobsites across the five boroughs to gain the necessary skills to advance their careers, and also to meet the industry’s need for experienced workers in the face of a mounting labor shortage that threatens to slow the city’s much-needed economic recovery effort.
“We are excited to launch this unique skills training program with Bronx Community College, which will provide best-in-class instruction to help take BSNY participants to the next level in their respective careers,” said BSNY Executive Director David Meade.
“The CCA advances our mission to help traditionally underserved New Yorkers gain access to economic mobility and professional development while also contributing to the revitalization of their own neighborhoods,” Meade continued. “We look forward to replicating this program to elevate workers and bolster the construction industry at a critical time in the city’s history.”
“Bronx Community College has a long history of providing skills training to the New York City workforce, which benefits both the workers and the industries in which they work,” said BCC President Thomas A. Isekenegbe. “We are greatly pleased with this opportunity to collaborate with Building Skills New York and bring fresh talent to the construction companies that help develop our city.”
Scholarships to participate in the CCA program were awarded to BSNY workers who have proven themselves in the field and expressed an interest in pursuing advanced electrical, plumbing and carpentry training.
Each class will participate in up to 200 hours of technical skills training provided by BCC, which offers the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) curriculum, a nationally recognized certification system for skilled construction trades. This well-respected credentialing process follows a series of stackable training courses that facilitate a progression of skill acquisition. This summer’s classes will include a NCCER core, NCCER electrical, NCCER carpentry and NCCER plumbing.
Due to ongoing precautions related to the coronavirus pandemic, classes this summer will feature a combination of remote and in-person instruction. BSNY and BCC staff will provide case management throughout the training and BSNY will work with each trainee after they graduate on next steps for advancing at their existing job or in a new position.
BSNY has gained support from several councilmembers representing the Bronx, who value the job growth and infrastructure opportunity this program brings to the neighborhood.
“Building Skills plays a critical role in helping New Yorkers find family-sustaining, career-oriented jobs in a growing industry, and has been especially beneficial for my constituents, who have some of the highest participation rates in the program of any Council District across the five boroughs,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “The addition of this skills training effort will help assure that workers have longevity in construction while working to strengthen their own communities. I appreciate all the work Building Skills has done in the 8thCouncil District and beyond and look forward to continuing our relationship in the years to come.”
“While we have been giving direct assistance such as cash relief and food to New Yorkers during the pandemic, we must not forget about the commodity that isn’t as easily replaced – jobs. Not only do we need available jobs, but New Yorkers need the training and skills to take on these roles,” said Council Member Eric Dinowitz. “We are grateful for the partnership between Bronx Community College and Building Skills New York to provide this opportunity for Bronxites. This initiative comes at a time when we are starting to leave the pandemic behind and are looking forward to a robust recovery. It has been a traumatic year for many New Yorkers, but we are taking the necessary steps for a great comeback.”
“I am incredibly happy to see Building Skills work alongside Bronx Community College for the Construction Career Accelerator,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “This new partnership will help people from low-income communities get the experience and education needed for upward mobility. I encourage residents of the Bronx to apply, and I am excited to see where this collaboration leads.”
“Building Skills is helping individuals in all five boroughs establish successful, good-paying careers in New York’s growing construction industry. I’m thrilled this program is providing my constituents with access to high-quality education courses that will allow them to build their resumes and increase their opportunities to enter – and grow in – this sector, while contributing to the growth of their own neighborhoods,” said Council Member Oswald Feliz. “As our post-pandemic economic recovery continues, it’s critical that we provide individuals with the skills they need to succeed in the long term and that they can carry with them from one jobsite to the next.”
“The partnership between Building Skills New York and Bronx Community College will provide invaluable skills to Bronx residents in need of these critical skills to become competitive in today’s job market,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “The construction industry provides our community with the tools to become successful and this partnership will help eliminate barriers that have prevented historically underserved and underemployed communities from accessing these opportunities.”
“I am encouraged to see this newfound collaboration between two significant organizations in our borough – Bronx Community College and Building Skills – and look forward to seeing this model replicated across the city,” said Council Member Rafael Salamanca, Jr. “This training program will uplift New Yorkers by offering them a key role in constructing the future of their own communities – including much-needed affordable housing projects – and allowing them the opportunity to thrive in a fast-growing industry. I look forward to seeing this program and its participants grow and thrive.”
BSNY is looking forward to expanding the CCA program in the fall with additional partners. This effort comes at a critical time for the construction industry, which is seeing a rapid recovery after being hit hard in the pandemic-induced economic downturn.
A labor shortage that existed prior to the COVID crisis has been exacerbated over the past year, with construction industry experts predicting that companies will need to hire 430,000 more workers than they employed in 2020. An analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors revealed that every $1 billion in extra construction spending generates an average of at least 5,700 jobs.
“We know that New York is going to have to build its way out of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, and also that the construction industry has many opportunities to offer the thousands of individuals who remain unemployed as result of that crisis,” Meade said. “Together, BSNY and its partners like BCC are working to assure individuals in some of most vulnerable communities are able to benefit from all the construction industry has to offer by learning critical skills that will help propel them along the path to success.”
More information on Building Skills NY can be found here.