Astoria resident Marvin Lewis was named Building Skills New York’s Queens worker of the month for January.
The non-profit organization connects local workers, primarily those who are unemployed or underemployed, to available good paying construction jobs with various services including free job training and preparation counseling, careful vetting of each candidate to ensure they are “work ready,” and a focus on job retention by regularly monitoring worker on-job performance.
“Thanks to Building Skills, I’ve been given opportunities that I never would have been able to access otherwise,” Lewis said.
He is currently working for RNC Industries on the Durst Organization’s Queens Plaza project in Long Island City. Lewis began on the project as a general laborer and is now cutting rebar and doing concrete form work.
Prior to being connected to Building Skills, Lewis struggled to find a job in construction despite experience in the industry. He found Building Skills through community partner Urban Upbound, which works to provide local public housing residents with the resources they need to achieve economic mobility.
“At my job, I’ve learned skills such as cutting rebar, carpentry, and working with concrete,” Lewis said. “All tools I didn’t know how to do before.”
Building Skills recently announced their total number of 2019 job placements was 340, up 45 percent since 2018, with a growing share of workers here in Queens where development is booming. A recent report from the New York Building Congress forecasts $35.5 billion in construction spending from 2019 to 2021, a 16 percent increase from the previous three-year period, with the residential and transportation sectors leading the way.
Building Skills continues to provide on-the-job support to each worker as they seek to broaden their skill set and advance their construction career.