Labor Radio Interviews Thalia Lankin

July 7, 2015

Thalia Lankin, Building America's Chief Operating Officer and the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust’s (HIT) Director of Operations was recently featured in a broadcast of Labor Radio, part of the Workers Independent News network. Labor Radio host JoAnne Powers spoke with Lankin, about how Building America and HIT are bringing family-supporting jobs to economically depressed communities across the country by investing workers’ pension capital and federal tax credits to boost the local economy. 

“A lot of times that money comes with requirements that there is local hiring, so not only are we requiring 100 percent union labor, but we’re also helping the building trades and the developer ensure that some, if not a majority, of those jobs go to the residents of the community where the project’s being built,” said Lankin. “We’ve really been proud of being able to play that role of ensuring local hiring and union labor simultaneously.” 

The broadcast highlighted one of Building America’s recent projects St. Peter’s University Mac Mahon Student Center, and how the project is aimed at helping not only the university’s students, but the local community as well. The finished project is situated in the low-income neighborhood of McKinley Square in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Center is a six-story, 90,000-square-foot facility offering a myriad of venues, services, and outreach opportunities for students, faculty, and community groups as well as providing many advancement opportunities for residents of the local community. 

Lankin highlighted one of the programs at the student center that was established as a result of Building America’s involvement in the project. “We worked with the local building trades, and the building trades are now running a pre-apprenticeship training program out of this community center that is targeting residents of the community to learn about the building trades and become apprentices in the local trades, and so far 61 individuals have completed this program and the objective is to sort of train up to 500 minority youth from Jersey City over the next five years to get entrance into the building trades,” said Lankin. 

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