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Photo courtesy of Building Skills NY
Woodhaven resident Cristian Orellana takes home Queens worker of the month title from Building Skills NY.

Woodhaven resident Cristian Orellana was named Building Skills New York’s Queens worker of the month for June. 

The nonprofit organization’s mission is to provide an efficient and convenient process for finding a construction job for New York’s underserved residents, who have long been unable to gain access to careers in the construction industry.

Earlier this year, Orellana connected with Building Skills New York at a job fair event in the Bronx. 

At the time, Orellana was actively searching for work and had applied for many jobs, but hadn’t been able to secure a position. He began working as a painter for OV Painting on the Kaufman Astoria Studios expansion in Queens. 

Over the next month, Orellana worked hard to earn the respect of his boss. Through the tips that Building Skills gave him, Orellana recognized the importance of reliability and punctuality in proving himself to his employer. 

After the completion of the Kaufman project, Orellana began working on the 25 Park Row project in Lower Manhattan. Unfortunately, by mid-March the COVID-19 pandemic forced the site to shut down. 

A father of two, Orellana was worried about what the New York Pause meant for his ability to provide for his family. However, his dedicated work had paid off, and his employer continued to provide him with a paycheck throughout the shutdown. 

As work sites began to reopen, Orellana’s employer not only gave him his job back, but they promoted him to the foreman level. Now, he’s working in his position on The West, a condo development that spans from 11th Avenue between 47th and 48th streets. 

“Not only did Building Skills connect me with my current employer, but they also gave me the tools I needed to succeed in the industry,” said Orellana. “By having a hard working mindset and applying what I learned through Building Skills to my current job, I’ve been able to start building a true career in construction.”

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. 

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