PHOTO: Mayor de Blasio launched Sandy Workforce1 as part of the administration’s Superstorm Sandy recovery overhaul in 2014. Courtesy of Build it Back
By Michael V. Cusenza
The City’s Superstorm Sandy employment initiative will be making additional free pre-apprenticeship training opportunities available to low- and middle-income residents of Sandy-impacted areas, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week.
For the first time, select Sandy Recovery Workforce1 pre-apprenticeship training programs will host certain classes in these Sandy-impacted communities, de Blasio noted last Friday.
“Since the beginning, we have been committed not just to our recovery, but to providing opportunities to New Yorkers in our hardest-hit neighborhoods,” he added. “Build it Back has thus far connected 680 Sandy-impacted New Yorkers to high-quality employment, including many to the construction trades through union pre-apprenticeship vouchers. We are now increasing our capacity so that more Sandy-impacted New Yorkers can access these life changing opportunities.”
De Blasio launched Sandy Recovery Workforce1 in 2014 as part of an overhaul of the City’s Build it Back program and larger reconstruction effort. The program is part of the broader mission of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations to connect Sandy-impacted residents with careers in the unionized construction industry and jobs related to the recovery and rebuilding of these communities. According to the administration, residents from the affected communities have been hired through Workforce1 and Build it Back for jobs such as construction managers, procurement managers, residential construction inspectors, administrative assistants, and customer service representatives.
Through the Sandy Recovery Hiring Plan, the de Blasio administration has urged recovery construction managers to hire locally. They have been encouraged to work with community groups and job-training programs to identify candidates for construction-related work.
As a result of collaboration between the City, the NYC Building and Construction Trades Council and pre-apprenticeship training providers, New Yorkers will be able to enroll in designated classes, de Blasio said.
The pre-apprenticeship offerings include: a class in May which will have its first week hosted in the Rockaway Workforce1 Career Center on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, run by The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills; a class in June run by NYC District Council of Carpenters Building Works open to Sandy-impacted communities; and a class in July for women in Sandy-impacted communities run by Nontraditional Employment for Women.
Additionally, HRO indicated that Sandy Recovery Workforce1 will continue its partnership with New York City Helmets to Hardhats, which serves as a direct entry pathway into construction unions for veterans. Each provider has State Department of Labor-approved direct entry agreements with DOL-registered and City Building and Construction Trade Council-affiliated apprenticeship programs.
All pre-apprenticeship vouchers are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery Program. To date, according to the administration, 84 vouchers have been distributed and 66 people have graduated from the programs using our vouchers, preparing them for union work as roofers, metal lathers, painters, laborers, and carpenters.
Residents in Sandy-impacted ZIP codes interested in taking advantage of the pre-apprenticeship opportunities should visit their nearest Sandy Recovery Workforce1 office at sandyrecoveryopportunities.com. Sandy-impacted Queens ZIP codes are: 11102, 11414, 11420, 11422, 11433, 11434, 11691, 11692, 11693, 11694, and 11697.