Nicole Bertrán

Nicole Bertrán

Vice President of Program Services
The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills, Inc.

“I felt like the range of experiences in the program would be beneficial to me, and it absolutely has been. I’ve met people I wouldn’t normally meet. I’ve learned things I wouldn’t normally learn. And it’s really been a wonderful experience. I think the coursework is completely manageable for a working person, and the program staff and faculty take a great interest in seeing everyone succeed.”

When I started the program, I was working for the New York City Department of Small Business Services. I was only there for a brief time, but before that I was at an organization called Non-Traditional Employment for Women, which is where I got introduced into the labor movement and working with the unionized construction industry. Today I work for the Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills, which is a labor-management partnership between the Building Trades Employers' Association and the Building and Construction Trades Council. We prepare New York City public high school students and New York City Housing Authority residents for careers in the unionized building and construction trades.

My job is to run the program. I'm the vice president of program services. I run the day-to-day program operation—handle contract management, our communications external and internal—basically work with the building trades and make sure that people go to work.

I had been looking for a master’s in labor studies since I finished college, actually, but there was no program in the city at the time, and so I sort of abandoned the thought of going to graduate school and focused more on work. I got to a point in my career where I felt like I was ready to go back to school, but I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn't go back to school unless I knew I would be serious about pursuing the degree—and that the coursework was something that I was interested in and would engage me—because of the time and resource investment that one makes, working full time and going to school. It was important to me to have coursework that was engaging to me academically, but also was something that I could apply to my work life. And this program absolutely fit those criteria.