Bronx Environmental Stewardship Academy (BEST)

Founded in 2003, the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training (BEST) Academy is SSBx’s flagship program. BEST Academy prepares low-income New York City residents for jobs in the growing green collar sector. The program addresses both environmental and economic needs in the community by preparing New Yorkers for full-time employment, and simultaneously teaching skills related to protecting the environment, restoring urban green spaces, bringing NYC’s buildings to a higher, greener standard. Program components include:

1) Career Development
2) Green Construction
3) Building Operations & Maintenance
4) Financial Education
5) Community Service
6) Externship
7) Environmental Literacy

In July 2012, SSBx received the Workforce Innovation Award, one of the Neighborhood Achievement Awards given annually by New York City’s Department of Small Business Services. The Workforce Innovation Award honors organizations that “are pioneering a creative and effective approach to workforce development and that have developed a model that has enhanced their community and provided a model for others to emulate.” Our Program: BEST 4 Buildings is a full-time, 17-week program that runs from 8:00am to 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. For more information on BEST Academy, contact Migdalia Taveras at bestacademy@ssbx.org.

Our Students

BEST Academy recruits individuals aged 18 to 40 from low-income communities such as the South Bronx, and provides them with intensive training in the growing areas of green infrastructure and green building services. To be eligible for BEST Academy, an applicant must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Many of our trainees are on public assistance and/or have been unemployed for a significant period of time. Since its creation in 2003, more than 500 people have graduated from BEST Academy. In order to participate in BEST 4 Buildings (B4B), you must:

  • Be interested in careers in environmental sustainability
  • Be at least 18 years of age at time of enrollment
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a Social Security card and birth certificate
  • Provide any other requested documentation
  • Be either unemployed or under-employed
  • Attend an information session
  • Be physically able to work
  • Have math and reading skills at an 8th grade level
  • Be committed to completing the entire, full time, 17-week training program

Training and Certifications

BEST 4 Buildings offers training in:

  • Basic carpentry, electrical, HVAC, painting, and plumbing repair and maintenance
  • Green construction (using renewable/recycled lumber and other sustainable materials)
  • Basic techniques to increase energy efficiency in single and multifamily homes
  • Building maintenance and custodial services using environmentally safe products
  • Green Technologies such as solar power and geothermal
  • Energy Conservation
  • Lighting Efficiency
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Retrofitting

While enrolled in B4B, you have the potential to earn the following certifications:

  • USBC GPRO – Green Operations and Maintenance (O&M)
  • OSHA 40 Hour HAZWOPER
  • OSHA 10 Hour Construction Safety
  • OSHA Confined space
  • Basic construction/electrical/plumbing
  • First  Aid/CPR

Work with the BEST

We are constantly identifying companies and nonprofits in the green collar field that are potential employers of BEST graduates. To hire a BEST graduate or learn more about establishing an employment partnership with BEST, please contact Migdalia Taveras at bestacademy@ssbx.org.