Building Skills New York & LaGuardia Community College Launch Free Training to Expand Clean Energy Workforce


New York State Grant Funds HVAC Training Program, Part of Effort to Meet Ambitious Goals to Combat Climate Change

Harlem, NY (January 10, 2022)–Building Skills New York (BSNY), a non-profit dedicated to helping historically underemployed New Yorkers gain the skills and certifications necessary to enter and advance in the construction industry, is partnering with LaGuardia Community College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY); and Positive Workforce, a New York City based minority construction advocacy organization, to provide industry-recognized, tuition-free training for in-demand clean energy jobs.

Approx. 75 underemployed and unemployed New Yorkers will receive training to become certified Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for HVAC technicians is expected to increase by 15 percent by 2026.

New York State Energy & Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) is funding the program as part of a major statewide effort to combat climate change by supporting and encouraging transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

BSNY Executive David Meade: “HVAC is a fast-growing focus of the construction industry, and jobseekers with these critical skills have become even more in-demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. We are thrilled to be able to offer this important program in partnership with LaGuardia as part of our increased focus on skills training. Our goal is twofold: To maximize employment opportunities for New Yorkers while also addressing an ongoing labor shortage that threatens to curtail economic recovery efforts.”

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams: “This partnership with Building Skills New York will help New Yorkers eager to get trained quickly qualify for jobs with family-sustaining wages, while also helping employers fill critical job shortages. Given the many people who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, programs like this HVAC training program are vital for our communities. Participants will have full access to LaGuardia support services, which help students address financial or personal hardships before they become an impediment to graduation. LaGuardia has been providing industry-recognized training in plumbing, electrical, and other construction fields for many years.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris: “NYSERDA’s focus is to provide high-quality workforce training opportunities for New Yorkers statewide as New York transitions to a clean energy economy. New and evolving high-efficiency technologies in heating and cooling – especially ground and air source heat pumps—will play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating cleaner, healthier communities. Energy efficiency is the largest segment of clean energy jobs in New York and has seen the largest job growth over the years, making training programs like this essential to developing career pathways for individuals seeking to participate in New York’s exciting clean energy future.”

Positive Workforce Executive Director Vinny Torres: “Training programs like this one are an important tool in helping to provide much-needed diversity in the construction workforce while also opening pathways to new opportunities for members of underserved communities. The HVAC sector is growing and requires a highly technical skillset. Once a worker has this knowledge, it will open doors for career advancement and extend their longevity on the job – benefitting employees and employers alike.”

Councilmember Rafael Salamanca: “This year alone, Building Skills has placed 17 of my constituents in construction jobs, helping them secure employment at a critical time in the city’s economic revitalization effort. I particularly appreciate that these workers are able to continue the rebuilding of their own communities, giving them a sense of pride and ownership that perhaps wasn’t there before. The availability of skills training is an important addition, and one that I hope more New Yorkers avail themselves of in the coming months.”

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson: “Building Skills has a proven track record of connecting my constituents with good-paying, family-sustaining jobs in the construction industry. It’s wonderful to see the organization expanding its reach by working in conjunction with community colleges like LaGuardia to enable these workers to receive the skills training required to advance in their chosen field.”

Details About the LaGuardia–BSNY Positive Workforce HVAC Training Program & How to Apply

Training is 20+ hours a week for 12 weeks, for a total of 225 hours. Industry-recognized HVAC certification curriculum from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) is used. Participants receive professional career guidance.

Through NCCER’s Level 1 HVAC curriculum, students learn the basic principles of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, LEED construction and energy management, and get introduced to air distribution systems. In addition, students learn about heat pumps and other cutting-edge clean technologies to prepare them for clean energy jobs.

Due to ongoing pandemic-related restrictions, the course features both virtual and in-person instruction. All in-person classes take place at Positive Workforce’s state-of-the-art 10,000-sq.-ft. training facility in Harlem, with instruction led by LaGuardia Community College construction teachers—many of whom are working industry professionals.

Students who complete the training and pass the HVAC certification exam will receive job placement assistance, including help securing internships and apprenticeships, from Positive Workforce, a New York City-based minority construction advocacy organization.

Applicants must be age 18 or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a basic reading and math assessment. To apply for cohorts starting in February and April 2022, click here.

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About Building Skills New York
Building Skills New York (BSNY) is a nonprofit organization that provides an efficient and convenient process to help New York City residents in traditionally underserved and underemployed communities find jobs in the construction industry. The organization employs a targeted program that transforms lives and helps workers both advance their careers and revitalize their own communities. It focuses on growing a skilled construction workforce that represents the city’s diversity. BSNY partners with leading workforce agencies to recruit and screen eligible residents and then provides them with the skills and safety training necessary to succeed and advance.

Over the past several years, BSNY has placed more than 1,500 New Yorkers in well-paying construction jobs across the five boroughs—often within their own communities.

About LaGuardia Community College
LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), located in Long Island City, Queens, educates thousands of New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs . LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all U.S. college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education.

About Positive Workforce
Positive Workforce is a New York City based minority construction advocacy organization dedicated to obtaining gainful employment in the construction industry for minority building trade workers. Positive Workforce monitors many construction projects performed in New York City to ensure increased employment opportunities for minorities in proportion to the population percentages within the city and as defined by federal guidelines.


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