It used to take months of searching and interviewing to hire the right maintenance technicians in the Boston area. Now, it can happen in weeks.
About a year ago, Bozzuto Talent Advisor, Satinae Robinson, visited the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), quickly opening the doors to a powerful partnership. “Boston was an area where we really struggled to find maintenance technicians,” Robinson explained, “which means it took a long time to fill those roles and put a lot of pressure on our property teams. This partnership has really helped alleviate that stress.” Most BFIT candidates are so prepared that they’re hired immediately, instead of being enrolled in the Bozzuto Work and Learn program that many new employees undergo.
These students stand out because of the well-rounded education offered by BFIT’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) certificate program. Emily Leopold, Director of Career Services and Industry Partnerships, said, “BFIT takes pride in not just educating our students in the hard skills that are necessary in a technical field, but also in teaching them how to be professional, reliable and good communicators who can handle conflict.” It’s these social skills that give their students an edge over prospective candidates and make them a great match for Bozzuto.
Lentz Chery, Maintenance Technician at The Kensington, recognizes this advantage most when he’s answering residents’ questions. He sees these moments as an opportunity to be a little funny and laugh with them, relying on his technical skills to know the answer and his social ones to connect on another level. “That’s when the technical and social lessons I learned from BFIT combine as one.” Drake Barnes, Maintenance Technician at 30 Dalton politely agreed with Chery, sharing how the one-on-one relationships with teachers really helped him break out of his shell. “I was shy, but my teachers helped me gain confidence. Today, I can easily talk to residents about my work and I’m tremendously grateful to everyone at BFIT for that.”
The active participation of BFIT faculty shows how much they care. Robinson sees this commitment and dedication trickle down and spread to the students. Unlike candidates from some of the other programs she’s worked with, the BFIT students are eager to grow and learn, but are also constantly looking for ways they can be an asset to the people around them. Rashaud Browne graduated at the top of his class, but after working as a maintenance technician at Park Lane Seaport, he happily admits he learns something new every day. “I learn from my maintenance team, the leasing staff and even contractors. They want me to know the company inside and out and never hesitate to pass on their knowledge.”
Having an open line of communication is what’s really helped this relationship develop into a two-way street. On the Bozzuto side, Robinson has really taken the time to nurture this partnership. “Satinae has been really open in communicating with my team about hiring needs, but also in communicating with us after we present a candidate.” Leopold explained how most employers don’t follow up, and that by simply letting her team know if a student did well on an interview—or more importantly if they didn’t—and sharing the reasons why can make all the difference. “If we know, we can help them improve on those opportunity areas and do better next time.”
This open communication and feedback culture has also carried over into the HVAC classrooms. BFIT looks to Bozzuto for ways to enhance and update their curriculum, checking out the mechanical materials we use to stay on top of the ever-changing industry. Looking forward, this relationship will only expand as we continue to collaborate and discuss new opportunities like the possibility of Bozzuto sharing unused materials to update BFIT classrooms or even hiring former BFIT instructors as Bozzuto maintenance managers.
By intimately intertwining ourselves with educational institutes who share our values, we’re able to quickly and effectively recruit exceptional employees. As we continue to grow in Boston, so do our ties to the area and to valued partners like BFIT. We’re happy BFIT is part of the Bozzuto family, and as Browne put it so eloquently, “Boston is home and Bozzuto is family.”