Henry Street: Creating green jobs and bright futures on the Lower East Side

April 30, 2023

This Earth Month, we spotlight Mizuho USA Foundation grantee Henry Street Settlement (Henry Street), and our support for its Building Automation Systems Training Program. Henry Street was established 130 years ago and since then has been opening doors of opportunity for Lower East Side residents and other New Yorkers through career readiness training, social services, arts, health care and other programs. Their approach has evolved with the changing needs of those it serves and its community, most recently by adding training that addresses a post-pandemic focus on commercial building systems that create a healthier environment inside, and are eco-friendly.

The Green Building Tech program was developed at Henry Street’s Workforce Development Center by Stacks+Joules, a nonprofit organization that bridges opportunity gaps in the tech field. It was one of two job-training programs that Henry Street began in response to rapid changes in workforce needs prompted by the pandemic (the other is a certified medical assistant program). The program participants, like the broader Henry Street community, is made up largely of immigrants and underserved young people who aspire to rewarding careers that pay a living wage, but whose circumstances may have created obstacles. Henry Street helps its clients with training, support throughout the job-seeking process, connections to child care, and other services to clear the paths to success.

“The building automated systems program that Henry Street operates in conjunction with Stacks+ Joules is transformative,” said Matthew Phifer, Vice President of Education & Employment at Henry Street. “It provides a cutting edge opportunity to equip job seekers with the technical skills and certifications to earn high-quality wages while helping to mitigate carbon emissions, and ultimately help building owners comply with New York City’s Local Law 97 (carbon emission limits for NYC’s largest buildings).” 

The latest class, or cohort, which Mizuho’s grant is funding, received 150 applications for 24 spots. The admissions process is one that is qualitative and quantitative, looking to ensure it is inclusive, accessible, and finds those with not only the best aptitude, but attitude. “We want to be sure that applicants we accept are fully committed to the program,” said Matthew. The program’s graduates have achieved a near 80 percent employment rate to date.

Leah Markham, Director, Community Relations, and a Mizuho USA Foundation program officer, comments, “The program is producing climate and tech systems specialists who have developed skills to get, or keep, some of New York’s buildings in compliance with stepped up green standards. It’s a win for Henry Street clients, and for our city.” If you are interested in applying for one of Henry Street’s upcoming Building Automation Systems Training Program, you want to find out more about the wide range of other services provided by the nonprofit, please contact them at [email protected].

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