[Building Skills New York\Dornita Bell\Akiya Calloway]
Bell: “Working as a female in a male-dominated field isn’t without its challenges…I’m grateful for Building Skills to connecting me with a position where I can better my skills and use them as tools to showcase my capabilities.”
Photo: Building Skills New York
Building Skills New York, a non-profit organization working to provide underserved New Yorkers with good paying jobs, announced today September Workers of the Month, Dornita Bell (above) and Akiya Calloway.
Both women are currently employed on the Rockaway Village project in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens. Bell works for Rising Sun Construction doing general labor and flagging, while Calloway is employed by RNC Industries doing general labor and concrete work.
Bell was first connected with Building Skills and the Rockaway Village project in March. Though she had previous experience in the construction sector, she had most recently transitioned to working in the home health field. She credits Building Skills with placing her in a job where she’s been able to receive more on the job training than her prior job in construction provided, such as learning to work with rebar, bricks, and other new materials.
When she first began in construction, Bell didn’t think she would be able to handle the strenuous work. Over time, she’s completely shifted her mentality, and now feels empowered to do any task that a man working in the field can do. Currently, she is the only woman working on her direct team. A mother of three girls, Bell has even recommended the Building Skills to her daughters as an avenue for women breaking into the construction.
“Working as a female in a male-dominated field isn’t without its challenges,” said Bell. “However, the longer I work in the construction field, the more I realize I’m able to do anything I put my mind to. I’m grateful for Building Skills to connecting me with a position where I can better my skills and use them as tools to showcase my capabilities.”
Like Bell, Calloway also has a background in construction but took a hiatus from the field to work at a nursing home. After leaving that position, she found Building Skills through Ocean Bay Community Development corporation. Calloway has always enjoyed working with her hands and fixing things, and was interested in getting back into the industry. In her position on the Rockaway Village project, Calloway works with just one other woman directly. “In my experience working in the construction sector, I’ve seen how it can provide solid wages and steady work,” said Calloway. “All woman should be able to take advantage of available construction opportunities across New York City. I credit Building Skills with simplifying the job seeking process and helping me quickly find a good job close to my home.”
Though an increased number of women have entered New York City’s construction sector in the past few years, they still only make up around 9 percent of the industry, closely tracking with the nationwide statistic of 10.3 percent.
Building Skills’ total number of 2019 job placements was 340, up 45 percent from 2018. The organization helps New Yorkers find work through free job training and job placement services. Additionally, Building Skills continues to provide on-the-job support to each worker as they seek to broaden their skillset and advance their construction career.
About Building Skills New York
Building Skills New York provides an efficient and convenient process for finding a construction job for many City residents who have long been unable to gain access to careers in the construction industry. The organization achieves its goals through a well-designed and targeted program that places underemployed and underserved New Yorkers in construction industry jobs. BSNY transforms lives and helps residents revitalize communities by growing a skilled construction workforce that represents the diversity of New York City. BSNY partners with the city’s leading workforce agencies to recruit and screen eligible NYC residents and provide them with the necessary skills and safety training.