Building Skills NY is a workforce training program. Image: Brayden Faganello via Flickr

Building Skills NY is a workforce training program.
Image: Brayden Faganello via Flickr

Education is important in all stages of life. Whether we are learning in primary, secondary, post-secondary, or on-the-job situations, most of us continue learning throughout our entire lives. But education can, unfortunately, be expensive. Public schooling is free through the twelfth grade, but these days many jobs require further degrees or certification to be considered “qualified.” The base starting point has become higher, and for some that is a problem.

In cities like New York, finding any job can be extremely difficult. Not only are there eight million people living there, but also many of them are extremely educated or experienced in their fields. That makes getting a foot in the door even harder for young people.

Nearly half-a-million people in NYC rely on affordable housing just to get by. The New York City Housing Authority provides those living spaces, and also much more. They offer many programs for kids, teens, and adults. One of the best new programs is called Building Skills NY—and it aims to help solve the problem of young people finding gainful employment.

Construction workers in 1932 sit on a crossbeam having lunch during the construction of NYC's RCA Building

Lunch Atop a Skyscraper

Building Skills NY is a workforce-training program; and unlike degree or certification programs, it is completely free to NYCHA residents. The program offers eight- to ten-week programs that train unemployed or underemployed residents vital basic skills of the construction industry—including how to read blueprints, hands-on trainings, and issuing official certificates. When participants in the program successfully complete it, they are then given job placement with major affordable housing developers.

“This partnership with Building Skills NY will provide NYCHA residents with greatly needed employment opportunities,” said NYCHA Chairman John Rhea. The program is reminiscent of NYCHA’s previous partnership with the NFL Officiating Academy. “We’ve designed a program that will support affordable housing developers and contractors working to hire from within the communities they’re developing.”

The program is particularly interesting because it brings things full circle—residents are offered a great training opportunity for free, gainfully employed, and then give back to the affordable housing market. As they grow and gain experience, they become even more valuable members of society and can continue to move up in the world.