BUILD Goes Begging

Brooklyn Council Member David Yassky’s plea for $3 million for BUILD, a pro-Ratner group, failed to get into the 2007 city budget passed June 30, according to the expense budget posted online (PDF). The application for the grant, widely seen as never having had much of a chance anyway,
does however include some interesting details about how BUILD–a new nonprofit organization that sprouted up in order to take advantage of the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn–wants to do its job training.

For one, BUILD’s training program for union construction jobs would be so large–preparing 300 disadvantaged individuals a year, with about 230 of them actually finishing–that it would dominate the city’s apprenticeship system. The union-run sytem typically offers 1,200 slots a year, just 35 percent, or 420, of which will be set aside for disadvantaged people, which is the category that BUILD’s trainees would likely fall into.

The other thing is that while BUILD wants to give “priority enrollment” to “NYCHA residents, low-income individuals, moderate income individuals, disconnected young adults and young adults aging out of foster care,” the Mayor and the unions have other priorities. They pledged last fall to give those 420 slots to graduates of public high schools, returning veterans and women, meaning that BUILD trainees may not find any space for them even in the new more progressive apprenticeship system.

BUILD does have other options of course: it can seek money from Forest City Ratner, which has given it $285,000 so far.

Matthew Schuerman

BUILD Goes Begging