About Us2019-02-27T15:18:59-05:00
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About Us


The Construction Workforce Project (CWP) is a 501©3 advocacy organization whose partners are community and faith-based groups, public housing associations, industry leaders and other local stakeholders, who are driven to educate New York City constituents and other elected officials on the benefits of merit shop work for historically underrepresented multi-cultural communities in our region. By investing in merit shop friendly policies and programs, we can help shape a more secure future for marginalized communities across New York City.

Merit shop workers have rapidly become the majority of New York City’s construction workforce. Approximately 70 percent of private work is now being done by merit shop workers, the vast majority of whom live in the New York City region. The merit shop workforce is truly representative of the diversity of New York City — more than 70 percent of the merit shop workforce is Black or Latino — and CWP’s advocacy will provide local communities with a new voice and opportunities for inclusion and growth.


The Construction Workforce Project (CWP) seeks to expand merit shop hiring in accordance with our four core values:

• Education: Ongoing education and training to ensure job security
• Safety: Promoting a culture of safety across all trades that enhance skills
• Quality: Ensuring the utmost standards of construction are met
• Diversity: Creating a diverse workforce that provides opportunity and security

Why Merit Shop?

New York’s diverse communities of color have long lacked access to equal employment opportunities, but the City’s building boom presents ample opportunity for all New Yorkers to gain access to meaningful education/training and employment. While traditional union models of hiring continue to present barriers to entry for minority workers, merit shop offers an inclusive hiring model, giving a chance to anyone willing to work hard. The vast majority of merit shop workers, who now represent 70 percent of the city’s private construction workforce, are workers of color who actually reside in the City and its surrounding boroughs.

By expanding the merit shop hiring model, we can increase access to well-paying jobs in our underserved communities, while streamlining much-needed repairs to the City’s public housing and transit infrastructure.

For many New Yorkers, merit shop offers more than a job opportunity – it’s a lifeline to a career. By supporting merit shop friendly policies and programs, we are helping lift up our underserved communities.

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Clark Pena, Director of Advocacy

clerk penaClark Pena is a lifelong community advocate who cares about those less fortunate. He works tirelessly creating opportunities for people of color and other minorities across New York State. He is committed to creating partnerships with other community and faith-based groups, to promote education and training, leading to secure employment in the merit shop construction industry.

Clark was born and raised in New York City. He is a proud product of NYC Public Schools and a U.S. Army Veteran. On September 11th he was a first responder and Peace Officer where he responded at Ground Zero not only to assist but also to feed those that were serving. Clark spent countless hours working at the Medical Examiners Office Temporary Morgue on 29th Street at the FDR, the Blue Wall of Prayer.

In addition to his work at the Construction Workforce Project, Pena also hosts the citywide television program, The Advocates Corner.

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