Even as Building Skills has continued to connect New Yorkers with good, safe construction jobs throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we all know that severe impacts on the industry have left many workers without the income needed to take care of themselves or their loved ones. Our team believes in taking every opportunity we can to help out.

We’re proud to let you know that we’ve leveraged resources from non-profit partners to deliver emergency grants to many Building Skills participants who have been impacted by the crisis. This financial relief has been a lifeline for local construction workers in our network, and it’s just one of the ways that we’ve provided an extra hand to New Yorkers amid the crisis.

Here are just a couple of personal stories from Building Skills participants who recently received emergency grants:

Jonathan Perez

Jonathan Perez connected with Building Skills just a few months ago through community partner BronxWorks’ “Strong Fathers, Stronger Families” program. At the time, Perez was unemployed and unsure of what his next career steps were, and was grateful for an opportunity to break into the construction field. Through Building Skills, he was able to complete his OSHA-30 and get connected with a job on [SITE]. Not long after Perez began work, COVID-19 complications forced the site to temporarily shut down. Perez was eager to quickly get back to work, and Building Skills helped find a job on [SITE] that remained open. Still, the crisis brought financial challenges to Perez. A few weeks ago, he found out he would be receiving grant money through Building Skills to help supplement his income. Perez was shocked. He says the grant money was truly a “blessing” during these uncertain times, and is beyond appreciative that he connected with Building Skills before the COVID-19 crisis started. He says that he doesn’t know what he would have done otherwise in this challenging job climate. Perez credits Building Skills with “keeping him going” during the current crisis.

Raphael Jefferson

Raphael Jefferson has been in the Building Skills network for around a year. During that time, Jefferson has had a fantastic experience and has been connected with jobs on three different worksites. He is particularly appreciative of the Building Skills team’s consistent check-ins, and says everyone really “goes out of their way” to ensure his jobs are running smoothly. Like many New Yorkers, the COVID-19 crisis changed everything for Jefferson. The site he had currently been working on, [SITE], announced they would no longer allow non-labor workers, meaning that Jefferson was out of work. Unsure of where to turn next, Jefferson reached out to Building Skills, who connected him with work on another site. But just a few weeks later, that site was also shut down. Jefferson was concerned about how he would make ends meet for himself and his family, especially because he has not yet received his stimulus check from the federal government. Recently, Jefferson found out he would be receiving grant money through Building Skills. He describes the feeling of finding out as a “boulder off of his shoulders.” Not to mention, the news came at a great time – the day before his birthday.