Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Forest City hiring for Navy Yard modular factory, but only those with construction experience (so much for CBA goal)

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A message from a Forest City Ratner External Affairs Manager has been circulating:
FCRC/Skanska’s modular factory at the Brooklyn navy yard is hiring. We are partnering with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations and Building 92 at the navy yard to provide training and/or employment resources in construction. Each interested person should attend one of the four information sessions we are holding in the next two weeks.
Note that, according to the poster, individuals need experience ranging from six months to foremen level. Information sessions will be held Feb. 21, 25, and 27 at the Navy Yard.

Not for beginners

There surely are a lot of people with some experience, but one of the rationales for the Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), and the job-training group BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development) was pre-apprentice training, to get people with no (or little) experience in the mix.

And we know what happened:  a lawsuit from several who participated in the alleged "sham" training program persists. And BUILD is defunct. So, when the modular plan was announced in December 2012, Forest City and the Building and Trades Construction Council said that three pre-apprenticeship programs would be involved:
  • N.E.W. (Nontraditional Employment for Women)
  • Helmets to Hardhats
  • The Edward J. Mallory Initiative for Construction Skills
This new set of workers will not get pre-apprenticeship training, apparently. The training in this case will be provided by Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, which was founded in 2000--unlike BUILD, before Atlantic Yards was announced--and is an affiliate of the Fifth Avenue Committee, in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Employment Center.

Why more workers needed

It's unclear why Forest City needs more workers at the modular factory. Have they lost employees? (That's been an issue at the lower-paid Barclays Center.) Are they ramping up for the next building?

Or, simply, have they not gotten to full strength since they began producing modules for the first tower, B2? (In late October, Fast Company reported that the factory had 72 union tradespeople, but would eventually employ 125, plus managers).

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