Newest BEST Grads Ready for Work

Categories: NewsFeed

SSBx celebrated the 39 newest graduates of BEST Academy’s BEST ECO (BECO) and Best for Buildings (B4B) programs at a lunchtime ceremony. Annette Williams, Director of BEST Academy, presented graduates with certificates recognizing their achievement.

She also bestowed personalized commendations on students, anointing Rhina Mercado as “Miss Network Queen,” for example, and Akwanza Gleaves as “Mr. Volunteer.”

It was a high-energy event, with family and friends of the graduates and some of the course trainers there to celebrate the newest members of the green collar workforce.

These 39 students were chosen from a pool of 364 applicants — the largest number of applications ever received for BEST. The application process now includes brief essays, panel interviews, and a one-day tryout. Because of this process, we were not surprised to hear from BEST instructors that this was one of the most motivated groups they’ve seen.

“Their positive attitude, hunger for knowledge and what they want for themselves really set them apart,” said Michael Dunseith of the Green Jobs Training Center, which taught the final three weeks of the B4B class.  “They were all high-achievers. Ninety-percent of them want to start their own businesses. I think they’ll be the most successful class yet.”

BEST ECO grad Derrick Martin receiving certifications from BEST Academy Director Annette Williams.SSBx Executive Director Michael Brotchner (left) with trainers Michael Dunseith and Dolores Bevilacqua of the Green Jobs Training Center.At the lunch, the graduates thanked the instructors, shared resources for further certifications, and talked about how thrilled they were for the opportunity to learn something new.

BEST Academy’s ultimate goal is for our graduates to obtain employment in the green collar field. Trainees also learn the “soft skills” required to obtain and retain positions.

The early prospects for this newly graduated class are very encouraging. A number of graduates have already obtained full-time positions. SSBx Job Developers are helping others find full-time or seasonal work.

Over the next few months, we look forward to sharing the success stories of this new class.

For more information, contact Annette Williams at (646) 400-5438 or