Electrical Connections
Fund for Public Housing Partnership Creates Careers

Residents get union jobs
Partners in career success: NYCHA residents with prep course Instructor Brian Mendes (front center) and Constellation Senior Project Manager Jason Hewitt (front right).

Nine NYCHA residents recently became members of Local Union 3 IBEW, the electrical workers’ union, with help from a new NYCHA partnership.

Constellation NewEnergy, a NYCHA Energy Performance Contracts partner, worked with the Authority to offer an eight-week academic preparation course to prepare residents to take the competitive Local 3 aptitude test. The company partnered with NYCHA’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment & Sustainability (REES) to develop the prep course, based on a curriculum created by NYC Small Business Services.

“As an employment partner, Constellation wanted to take the extra step to ensure that they were able to offer meaningful and relevant training opportunities in addition to employment,” said Lenese Vergara, Assistant Director of Job Generation, REES. “We hope the success of this project encourages other employment partners to invest in meaningful resident training initiatives.”

Constellation provided almost $20,000 toward the prep class, covering the costs of instruction, MetroCards for transportation, lunches during the course, and starter toolkits for candidates who passed the exam.

“At Constellation, we believe that you must invest back into the communities in which you live and work,” said Larry Godleski, Executive Director, Distributed Energy for Constellation. “We’re excited to have helped support this group of NYCHA residents as they embark on a new career path. We wish them all the best as they develop in their professional journeys.”

Participants of the prep class included graduates of the NYCHA-funded Pathways to Apprenticeship and Rebuilding Together NYC pre-apprenticeship programs, which provide residents affected by Superstorm Sandy with hands-on construction training, as well as graduates of the NYCHA Resident Training Academy’s construction training track.

Alex Rodriguez of Wyckoff Houses and Jasmine Renaud of Red Hook Houses said completing the course was an invaluable experience; both are now first-year apprentices with Local 3.

Mr. Rodriguez, currently at work on an electrical project at the NBA’s Manhattan office, said, “I wouldn’t have known to study topics that we covered in the course. I wasn’t confident about taking the test before the course, but during the course I reached a point where the information was so fresh, and I was so sharp, I just wanted the test day to come faster.”

Ms. Renaud, who works for Unity Electric, sees the opportunities NYCHA has provided her as stepping stones toward owning a business in the future. “It was a great program. It was good to know that there were people willing to help me,” she said.

This prep class is an example of the opportunities the Fund for Public Housing aims to provide to residents through public-private partnerships.

“Constellation NewEnergy is really a pioneer. This grant is the first contribution the Fund has received to address the donor industry’s needs while creating careers for NYCHA residents,” explained Rasmia Kirmani-Frye, President of the Fund for Public Housing. “We hope the success of Constellation’s grant will inspire other industry partners to make similar investments in NYCHA residents.”

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