Building Skills New York’s mission is to provide an efficient and convenient process for finding a construction job for many residents who have long been unable to gain access to careers in the construction industry. This makes Building Skills uniquely positioned to assist government, the development community, and local communities achieve local hiring initiatives and goals.

The key elements of Building Skills’ work include:

Working with a city-wide network of leading workforce agencies to provide free construction job placement assistance to unemployed and underemployed New York City residents; 

  • Carefully vetting each candidate to ensure they are “work ready” with the experience and skills required by job sites, providing contractors with assurance of worker preparedness and enhancing the likelihood of on-the-job success;
  • Focusing on job retention and job continuity by regularly monitoring worker on-job performance, and intervening when appropriate with counseling and support, and tracking each worker to ensure that after a project has ended they are promptly placed in a job on another project providing unprecedented continuity of employment;
  • Assisting workers in acquiring advanced construction skills which can lead to broader career pathways and expanded opportunities with higher compensation levels, so that they are not stuck in “dead-end jobs.”


Building Skills New York is committed to creating economic opportunities in underserved communities with a history of unemployment and underemployment. Many New York City residents in poverty-strickened neighborhoods have limited access to inclusive economic growth including good paying jobs, professional development, and neighborhood revitalization. Building Skills provide residents, most of them minorities, with a robust network of the City’s leading workforce agencies which recruit and provide them with the necessary skills and safety training. Building Skills helps to bring fulltime and good paying jobs to workers interested in in the construction industry, by connecting them to available construction jobs provided by developers, contractors, and subcontractors.


David Meade, Executive Director

David Meade joined Building Skills NY in April of 2017.  He is deeply committed to the organization’s mission of helping New Yorkers find career track and family sustaining wages in the construction industry.  Before joining Building Skills NY, David Meade was Executive Director of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC) where he led a neighborhood based economic and workforce development organization and assisted thousands of small businesses and local jobseekers in Brooklyn. During his tenure at SBIDC, he helped open and direct the Brooklyn Workforce 1 industrial and transportation center and manage the attraction and retention of industry in one of New York City’s largest Industrial Business Zones. David also worked in the private sector advising small businesses. Additionally, he managed the administration of economic development zones throughout New York at Empire State Development. He holds a BA from Canisius College and earned his Masters of Urban Planning from The University at Buffalo. David is a graduate of Coro’s Leadership NY program.

Glenn Hilzen, Business Services Manager

Glenn Hilzen has a 32-year track record in business operation where he oversaw sales, marketing, ecommerce, purchasing, procurement, accounts payable, accounts receivable, scheduling, human resources, payroll, and customer care. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing Management from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management from Syracuse University. In his role as Business Services Manager for Building Skills NY he meets with developers, general contractors and subcontractors to cultivate the jobs pipeline across over 70 NYC jobsites. In less than three years, Glenn has expanded the BSNY sub-contractor client-base network to over 100 partners. He was also the recipient of the 2018 NYCETC Bonnie Potter Workforce Staff Award for his unwavering dedication and efforts to connect underserved New Yorkers to construction jobs. In his free time, Glenn enjoys organizing swim meets for his children’s team (go Scarlet Aquatics!) and jogging.

Felicia Forster, Business Development Representative

Felicia Forster has over 10 years of experience in digital media. Prior to joining Building Skills NY, she has partnered with construction companies such as Gilbane, Tishman, and Suffolk Construction to introduce new onboarding and compliance technology solutions. She holds a BA in Psychology from Buffalo State College, where she was active in recruiting new students to the campus. She was an active member of the Woman in Construction organization and joined several minority women in construction organizations. She has a passion for helping people find employment in construction and partnering with organizations.

Tatanisia Lumley, Operations Manager and Recruiter

Tatanisia Lumley has a passion for working with diverse populations and is creating career pathways for jobseekers in the construction field. Before joining Building Skills NY, she served as Program Coordinator for Bronxworks’ Strong Fathers, Stronger Families program for four years, working to maximize training and employment outcomes for both custodial and non-custodial fathers and mothers. The program offered employment and retention services, skills training, parenting and healthy relationship education, child support case management assistance, legal seminars, financial education, benefits screenings and more. Ms. Lumley joined the Building Skills NY team with the goal of providing career opportunities and quality construction industry education for residents who live in New York City. She holds a BS in Human Services from Norfolk State University.

Olivia Torres, Database Manager

Olivia Torres is an enthusiastic professional dedicated to improving the lives of others. She manages the organization’s database as a Salesforce-certified administrator and works directly with job-seekers interested in the Building Skills NY pipeline of construction jobs. Prior to joining Building Skills, she worked as an Operations Coordinator for Lloyds of London and as a researcher for Good Housekeeping Magazine. Additionally, she received the ‘Chutzpah’ award for her outstanding work as an assistant and grant-writer at the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, one of the most sought-after leadership development non-profit programs in New York City. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College and Master’s of Science degree in Social Research from Hunter College.

Ariel Leyva, Program Administrator

Ariel Leyva joined Building Skills NY in 2018 as the Program Administrator. Prior to Building Skills NY he was the Intake Coordinator at SBIDC’s Brooklyn ITC Workforce1 Center, and Office Manager & Bookkeeper for a construction contractor. As an Intake Coordinator he regularly managed a large daily volume of clients seeking employment placement and other support services. Ariel relishes in connecting with jobseekers and supporting BSNY clients. In his free time he likes to play handball in his native Brooklyn neighborhood and photography.


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