Mayor London N. Breed today announced the appointment of Ken Nim to serve as Director of CityBuild, a nationally recognized training program that provide pathways for underserved residents into the building and construction trades. Nim will serve as CityBuild’s fifth Director and first Asian American Pacific Islander to lead in the role.
Working under the Mayoral-appointed Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the Director of CityBuild is responsible for recruiting, training, and placing residents in construction jobs.
“As someone who grew up in this City and has deep roots in the community, Ken understands that a path to employment is not just about a paycheck. It's about an opportunity to lift up our residents so no one gets left behind,” said Mayor Breed. “CityBuild creates good union jobs that help address employment inequality, prevent violence in our neighborhoods, and build much needed housing for our City. I’m confident that under Ken’s leadership, this program will continue to thrive for years to come.”
“I wake up every day grateful for the opportunity to serve this great City. As an immigrant who grew up through the various social services, I understand firsthand the struggles people face to make ends meet,” said Nim. “I am honored to have this opportunity to elevate my passion toward shaping impactful workforce development programs. Thank you, Mayor Breed for this tremendous opportunity to give back to a city that has given me so much. I will not let you down or the people of San Francisco.”
Nim has been serving as the Acting CityBuild Director for the past 12 months, delivering on the program’s local hiring goals in partnership with community-based organizations, building trade unions, and contractors while maintaining CityBuild Academy’s nationally recognized 95% placement rate. Prior to joining CityBuild, Nim worked at Goodwill, Housing Authority, and the Visitacion Valley Jobs Education and Training in various roles organizing and connecting formerly incarcerated and homeless individuals, youth, and immigrants to training programs and jobs.
CityBuild Academy aims to meet the demands of the construction industry by providing comprehensive pre-apprenticeship and construction administration training to San Francisco residents. CityBuild began in 2005 as an effort to coordinate citywide construction training and employment programs and is administered by OEWD in partnership with City College of San Francisco and Mission Hiring Hall, various community non-profit organizations, labor unions, industry employers, and City agencies. CityBuild trainees represent neighborhoods from across the City, including Bayview Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, Mission, Excelsior, Ingleside, Bernal Heights and Western Addition.
CityBuild has evolved into a network of training programs, employment services and policy administration. With its dual-service approach to training and job placement, CityBuild has taken advantage of the growing pipeline of workers to become the main point of contact for contractors and employers while continuing to monitor local hiring compliance on all major construction projects within the City.
“Impactful, proven initiatives like CityBuild are critical to securing equity and shared prosperity for all of our residents so that every San Franciscan has the opportunity to succeed in this vibrant economy,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Ken’s personal and professional experience makes him the best person to lead the CityBuild team, strengthen our community partnerships, and grow a diverse and skilled construction workforce with access to good pay and long-term careers.”
“Ken Nim has been with CityBuild from the beginning of the program's nationally-recognized community and labor partnership. He grew up organizing in the disadvantaged communities that CityBuild serves, working with the Building Trades to create Union apprenticeship opportunities that truly change lives for the better,” said Joshua Arce, Director of Workforce with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Mayor Breed has selected a tremendously qualified Director to help advance her vision that no San Franciscan should be left behind when it comes to the opportunity to go to work.”
CityBuild includes 18-week academies in construction and in Construction Administration and Professional Services Academy (CAPSA). Approximately 200 CAPSA graduates have become construction professionals since 2009 and more than 1,200 CityBuild graduates have entered the construction industry and are certified in various trades such as ironwork, carpentry, cement masonry, and many others. Since the program, began graduates have worked on projects such as the Chase Center Arena, Moscone Center, Transbay Transit Center, and many capital improvement projects from bond programs including the Earthquake Safety and Emergency Response Bond.
“For nearly a decade, I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with Ken Nim to put hundreds of SF residents to work. For Ken, thousands of San Franciscans have jobs because of his public service. I can’t think of a better leader for this program who’s done so much to reach folks who are left behind,” said Padraic Ryan, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of San Francisco-based Eco Bay Services. “Ken has been an integral part of the evolution of CityBuild from upstarting the community hiring program to the juggernaut it is today, with a proven ability to bring local labor unions, contractors, and communities together for our CityBuild students. Ken is firm, fair and balanced, and uniquely qualified to serve CityBuild and as a true native son, he understands the struggle that birthed the movement we call local hiring.”
Nim immigrated to the United States as a refugee and grew up in San Francisco public housing, attended public schools including Galileo High School, and graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Globalization and Technology on a full scholarship. He also has a Master of Science in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco.