Far Rockaway man named Building Skills NY August Worker of the Month

Kenya Hayward
Courtesy of Building Skills NY

Far Rockaway resident Kenya Hayward was named August Worker of the Month by Building Skills NY, a nonprofit working to provide underserved New Yorkers with well-paid jobs in the construction industry.

Hayward was first connected to Building Skills in 2017 when he visited one of the city’s Workforce1 Career Centers while between jobs. Despite being an industry veteran of nearly 25 years, Hayward was struggling to find a new role to match his skill set. Through Building Skills’ efficient placement process, the team quickly found Hayward work for a Brooklyn-based company specializing in superstructure construction.

After the completion of that project, Hayward held a few subsequent roles in various job sites, but in 2019 he once again found himself jobless, this time for a period of nearly 10 months. In late November, Hayward received an email blast from Building Skills inviting him to a job recruitment session in the coming week. With the holidays quickly approaching, he was happy to learn that Building Skills could find him work immediately.

“In addition to providing assistance to workers who are new to construction, Building Skills provides great opportunities to individuals with existing experience like myself,” Hayward said. “Finding employment in construction can be hard, but Building Skills makes the process simple. No matter where my future career takes me, I know the organization will always have my back.”

By December, Hayward was placed in a job working on the Rockaway Village development project, just blocks from his residence in NYCHA’s Redfern Houses complex. He was able to maintain his job throughout the coronavirus emergency and is still working on the same site today.

As an extra boost during the city’s widespread site shutdowns, Hayward also received a COVID-19 relief grant from Building Skills that helped tide him over during an extremely difficult time financially.

“Kenya Hayward’s story demonstrates the important place that workforce development and job creation programs have in our community,” Councilman Donovan Richards said. “Expanding access to good construction jobs is a key piece in advancing Queens’ economic goals and putting workers like Mr. Hayward on a path to long-term career success.”

Building Skills’ total number of 2019 job placements was 340, up 45 percent from 2018. The organization helps New Yorkers find work through free job training and job placement services. Additionally, Building Skills continues to provide on-the-job support to each worker as they seek to broaden their skillset and advance their construction career.

Building Skills NY partners with the city’s leading workforce agencies to recruit and screen eligible residents of the five boroughs and provide them with the necessary skills and safety training. Astoria resident Marvin Lewis was named Building Skills’ February Worker of the Month.