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New Program Gives Free Job Training and Placement to NYCHA Residents

By Mathew Katz | April 22, 2013 1:54pm

CHELSEA — As an admittedly aimless 21-year-old, Deshaun Waterton was initially skeptical about the email from his mom about a job training program. But when the Brooklyn public housing resident found out the program was completely free, he was interested.

Now at 23, Waterton is on his way to becoming an electrician, and has embraced a full-time job that he hopes will allow him to have success and afford a family.

"I could have went the trade route, but they put me into a position to start working and learn from the job itself," Waterton said.

The program, a pilot project by Building Skills NY, will now expand to bring job training and placement to interested unemployed or underemployed NYCHA residents.

"Many young adults in public housing have not been gainfully employed by the time they're 25," said NYCHA chairman John Rhea at a launch event for the program at the agency's Elliot Chelsea Houses.

The program will host 8- to 10-week courses training students in construction and building maintenance skills, completes the training by issuing industry certifications. From there, Building Skills NY will place workers with developers and contractors that help build the city's affordable housing.

The program aims to train and place hundreds of NYCHA residents at New York City College of Technology classrooms in Brooklyn, using a $100,000 grant from Goldman Sachs.

Rhea said the new program will help NYCHA residents flourish within the greater public housing community.

"Building communities is as important as building new apartments and new buildings," he said.

"This creates prosperity for families and affordable housing for the city, which is desperately needed."