WILLIAMSBURG – As construction continues apace along the Williamsburg waterfront, mega-developers Two Trees has sponsored job-skill training for up to 40 students through St. Nick’s Alliance’s Skilled Build program.
With a $50,000 donation, Two Trees continues to fund the program it helped launch in 2016. The program’s first cohort saw 31 graduates hired by Two Trees to work at 325 Kent, the first building to go up at the Domino Sugar redevelopment site. Now, graduates from the upcoming program will have the opportunity to be hired to work on the 260 Kent Avenue project, another residential building coming to the area.
The six-week program of “hard skills” teaches construction techniques to trainees through site visits, expert teachers and alumni, giving trainees realistic expectations about construction jobs said Larry Rothchild, the Managing Director of Workforce Development at St. Nicks Alliance. Trainees will learn about current New York construction laws and receive their OSHA 30 certification, a key part of being eligible to work in the city.
But before the hands-on work starts, though, St. Nicks implements a two-week intensive course on the soft skills needed for success: time management, interviewing techniques and financial literacy. The first thing to learn? “In construction especially,” says Rothchild, “7:00 really means 6:45.”
With high placement rates, the Skilled Build program has seen a soaring demand, and the next class will have 27 members. The inaugural class of 2016 had an 85% job placement rate, while in 2017, placement was at 98%. All told, that’s 112 jobs.
“There’s so much development in North Brooklyn, so that’s where we focus,” Rothchild said of the recruiting process. With the construction boom along the Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfronts, it’s a goal of St. Nicks program to place North Brooklyn residents in the jobs that are transforming their neighborhoods.
More information can be found on the St. Nicks Alliance website and information sessions are held every week. Who is eligible? “The real criteria is commitment,” says Rothchild.