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Life Stories - Ivan Rodriguez


When Ivan Rodriguez’s family fell on hard times, he dropped out of high school to support them by working. But when he could not find a job, he turned to desperate measures to make ends meet. He was arrested and incarcerated, and immediately decided to turn his life around. Ivan enrolled in United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild program and has since taken the Long Island community by storm. Acting as a true ambassador of the program, Ivan has presented YouthBuild to people across the community, invoking true emotion—both laughter and tears—to demonstrate the importance of the program and how it has changed his life.

Impressed by his professionalism, positive attitude and work ethic, Ivan was invited for an internship at Brookhaven National Lab where he worked with Natural Resources Manager Tim Green on a Sustainable Sites Initiative application for the Long Island Solar Farm. Once he completed his internship,  Rodriguez was asked to remain with BNL as a student assistant in the area of Facilities and Operations where he works  side-by-side with professionals to learn project management and quality assurance building inspection. He works at the Lab’s Facility Operations Center (FOC), which provides computer programs to assist in the planning, management, and administrative procedures required for an effective maintenance and asset management process.

“Ivan will be able to learn about all the key aspects of our system, and then we expect that he will assist our staff with work involving such items as work-order management, the preventive maintenance system, and facility inspections,” said FOC Manager Peter Eterno.

“Through United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild program, I was able to receive hands-on training and learn about weatherization, energy-efficiency and green-building. I am more confident today and look forward to a great career in construction and a positive future for myself and my family. Without YouthBuild, I don’t know where I would be.”