“BWI gave me a lift when I needed one.”

RICARDO Red Hook on the Road Graduate

Ricardo grew up in Washington Heights in the 80s, surrounded by drugs and crime, and describes his past mistakes as being just a small part of the person he has grown to become today. Ricardo learned of Red Hook on the Road (RHOR) through a local program that connects formerly-incarcerated individuals with job placement assistance. He started training in March 2006, immediately passed his road test, and began driving a straight truck for a small business in Queens. After building a few years of experience, he took the civil service exam and joined the MTA. Today, he drives an MTA bus – a job with excellent pay and benefits – and wants to continue to grow in his career.

Now married with two children, Ricardo owns his home, thanks to a Habitat for Humanity initiative, and his kitchen cabinets were made by BWI’s Brooklyn Woods program.

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“I found training and a support system.”

PAMELA Brooklyn Woods Graduate

A lifelong New Yorker, Pamela came to Brooklyn Woods in early 2013 after being unemployed since 2008. Facing significant financial challenges, she needed a free training program and a support system. She found these at Brooklyn Woods.

Pamela successfully completed the training program, and even went on to work at Brooklyn Woods’ social enterprise cabinet shop, making cabinets for affordable housing developments throughout New York City. Over her six months there, Pamela further honed her skills, and eventually got a job at Barron Arts, an art supplies manufacturer in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

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“Now I’m a City employee. I’m so grateful to BWI.”

TIFFANY NYCHA Resident Training Academy Graduate

Tiffany came to BWI because, as she said, “I was looking for a career and not a job.” When she enrolled in the fall of 2012, Tiffany had been unemployed for six months and struggled to support her four children in a small, second floor apartment in a Far Rockaway NYCHA housing development.

When the news of Hurricane Sandy’s threat reached her, like many New Yorkers, Tiffany was not concerned at first. “We thought it was going to be like Irene was a few years back, and we didn’t evacuate to the shelters. But when the storm hit, we realized that was a mistake.” Tiffany and her children lived without power or running water for two weeks. “The only way to get water was from the hydrant, and the only thing we had to eat for dinner was potato chips.” Tiffany began to lose hope that she would be able to finish her training and be hired by NYCHA as a Housing Caretaker.

But when BWI staff reached out to her and offered her family donated flameless candles, water, food, and other supplies, she remembered that the path she was on was worth continuing.

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“I respect the organization’s ability to give those with many challenges a chance at no cost to the participant.”

MICHAEL Brooklyn Networks Graduate

Michael heard about Brooklyn Networks at a career fair he attended. He knew nothing about cabling, but it sounded like a promising and interesting line of work. Michael began his training in April 2015 and admired the hard work and candor of the entire Brooklyn Networks team. As Michael recalls, no one sugar-coated what training would be like and the best was expected from each trainee.

Today, Michael is enjoying his work tremendously. He feels there is purpose to his work and he enjoys the questions from his young children about his hard hat and work boots. Engaging every day with field experienced co-workers, Michael is confident in his knowledge of a field he not too long ago knew absolutely nothing about thanks to his Brooklyn Networks training.

When asked why people should support BWI, Michael said, “BWI has given many people actual chances to enter the workforce”.

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“The program saved my life; going from one minimum wage job to another–you can’t survive in New York like that.”

TAIECE "Made in NY" PA Training Program Graduate
New York Drives Graduate

Taiece first heard about the “Made in NY” Production Assistant Training Program from the subway ad campaign in the summer of 2014. After learning about the program’s requirements, she looked into first getting into the New York Drives program to earn her driver’s license. Taiece was looking for an opportunity to find consistency in her career path. She was always interested in television and film, but didn’t have an access point. She instead found herself in one dead-end job after the next, earning low-pay and struggling to make ends meet. MINY was a different world for Taiece once she began her training. She was excited to hear from the alumni because they made her goals feel attainable.

Taiece now enjoys the stability brought to her thanks to her new career. She is working on two shows that are currently on air as a member of their set dressing and props teams. She’s also working on joining the Local 52 union and has been rounding out qualifications via a number of certifications including her OSHA 10.

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