State Seeks Female Hard Hats to Rebuild Kosciuszko Bridge

By Meredith Hoffman on March 15, 2013 6:59am 

GREENPOINT — To all fierce females who'd rather twist steel and don hard hats than tap computer keys behind office desks — New York wants you.

The state is seeking women for a massive construction project building a new Kosciuzsko Bridge to connect Brooklyn and Queens.

For the first time, New York is partnering with the nonprofit NEW (Nontraditional Employment for Women) NYC to offer both training and jobs in carpentry, iron work, electrical work and eco-friendly construction, officials said.

"We're looking to get a class of at least 20 women trained for the project," said Adam Levine, the public affairs director for New York State Department of Transportation's New York City division. "They'll start training at the end of April or May to start work in the fall."

The project — costing more than $5 million — has an accelerated start date through the NY Works program designed to put more New Yorkers back to work in infrastructure projects, the state's website explains.

And the NEW NYC initiative is an attempt to open construction — a field whose employees are only 3 percent female — up to women seeking "nontraditional" jobs, the organization's website says.

Levine said the next few months are key to informing women about the opportunity. The DOT is holding information sessions with testimonials from past NEW NYC students, and with details about the Kosciuzsko Bridge work.

"If you give it everything you have, NEW gives everything back to you," said Levine, noting that the organization also connected women with labor unions.

And the bridge's construction — which the state expects will take five years — is a key opportunity for local women seeking work, Williamsburg Councilman Stephen Levin said.

"This is a good opportunity to bring much-needed job opportunities to the community," he said.

"This is going to be one of the largest infrastructure projects in the city and it's really important women have the opportunity to work on it."

Women interested in learning more about work on the bridge can attend an information session March 19, from 6 — 8 p.m. at Cooper Park Houses on 275 Jackson St. They can also call 212-627-6252.

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