The nonprofit organization, which provides underserved New Yorkers with good paying jobs, connected with Orellana at a job fair in February. Orellana began working as a painter for Kaufman Astoria Studios’s expansion project.
“It was hard, but I did it,” he said. “I know the ins and outs of painting. I was just banging everything out.
“I felt so strong, so energetic,” Orellana added. “It’s where everything started.”
After finishing that project, Orellana moved on to 25 Park Row in Lower Manhattan. When the COVID-19 outbreak struck in mid-March, the site was forced to shut down.
Orellana, a father of two, was worried that the pandemic would impact his family. However, his boss continued to provide him with a paycheck throughout the shutdown.
When the worksite reopened, Orellana not only got his job back, but he was promoted to the position of foreman. Today, Orellana is working on The West, a condo development in Midtown.
“Everything’s going good now,” he said. “Working hard, getting my money the right way.”
Orellana credited Building Skills New York for motivating him and giving him tips like showing up early and having all of his tools at hand.
“They prepared me mentally to be a good worker,” he said.
In particular, Orellana thanked Glenn Hilzen, Building Skills’ business services manager, for preparing him for the gig at Kaufman Astoria Studios.
“When I sat in that interview, I felt like I couldn’t let him down,” he said. “That was my motivation.
“I’m really grateful for that,” Orellana added. “That’s what kept me going.”