Contracting company pitches local hiring initiative for Concourse affordable housing project

Bronx Grove housing construction on 261 E. 202nd St.
Photo ET Rodriguez

Representatives from a Queens-based contracting company presented their plan for a local hiring initiative on an affordable housing project in the Concourse neighborhood at a Community Board 4 meeting Tuesday night, emphasizing their vision of training and signing on a diverse local cohort.

George Poulon, the vice president and director of operations at Mega Contracting Group, spoke about the different training and job opportunities that will be available for the Bronx’s River II project — a new 276-unit mixed-use supportive and affordable housing complex at 1185 River Ave., just three blocks north of Yankee Stadium. 

“We’re very conscious of working with the local groups and working with the community boards in every project that we build,” Poulon said at CB4’s Economic Development Committee meeting Tuesday night. “We have local hiring initiatives for all our projects.” 

He highlighted the partnership the contracting group has established with Building Skills NY — a nonprofit organization that aims to connect underemployed and unemployed New Yorkers to construction careers and training initiatives — as well as the city career center NYC Workforce 1 and the NYC Economic Development Corporation’s program Hire NYC.  

For the River II project, Poulon said he plans to work with CB4 for recommendations on local talent, placing a special emphasis on women- and minority-owned businesses. 

“We’ll work with the community board, with yourselves, and get the list of individuals that you may have,” he said at the meeting.

Part of Mega Contracting Group’s work toward hiring locally, Poulon said, is actually getting people working with subcontractors at job sites to properly assess both what their needs and their strengths are. A good entry level position that requires training but not an excessive amount of experience, he said, is a flagger. 

Robert Garméndiz, the chair of CB4, insisted that he wants to see more retention with local hires for other construction projects, as well as more pathways to mastering different trades. He asked Poulon about the amount of people Mega Contracting Group has successfully trained and re-hired at different job sites.

“We’ve had a couple of success stories,” Poulon said. “Part of the problem is … we don’t have a lot of projects that continue within that local community, and projects are scattered. So even when they’re going to work for a subcontractor, that subcontractor might not be at that site for a long duration.” 

The CB4 members in attendance were supportive of the initiative, emphasizing the need for more construction opportunities for locals in the neighborhood.

Reach Camille Botello at [email protected] or (718) 260-2535. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes