Far Rockaway resident Kenya Hayward first connected with the nonprofit organization in 2017, when he visited a Workforce1 Career Center between jobs. Hayward, a 25-year veteran of the construction industry, was struggling to find a role that matched his skills.
“A lot of people will work for a lot less,” he said, when asked about why it was difficult to find a job in the field, “which makes it hard for guys like me.”
Through Building Skills, Hayward found work with a Brooklyn-based construction company. Two years later, however, he was jobless again for roughly 10 months.
That November, the Far Rockaway resident was invited to a job recruitment session, where he eventually found a job on the Rockaway Village development project, just blocks from his home.
He maintained that job throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and is still working there today.
“I was blessed to continue to work,” Hayward said.
To give him a boost financially, Building Skills also provided Hayward with a COVID-19 relief grant.
“Anything helps,” he said. “It was great to have it.”
Kenya added that it feels special to be recognized by Building Skills for his work.
“It feels really good,” he said. “A lot of hard work to reach this point, and it’s worth it.”
He was also recognized by Councilman Donovan Richards for the accolade. Hayward said he’s known Richards since his childhood when they went to school together.
“We’ve known each other for years,” he said.