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CPS Partners with Trade Unions to Launch High School Training Program for Chicago’s Youth


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Chicago Public Schools and Dunbar Career Academy have launched the Windy City’s first comprehensive high school program for students interested in entering the construction trades. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not afraid the program will discourage students’ higher educations aspirations so much as it will offer options to students for whom college is out of reach. The program will offer courses on general construction, carpentry, heating and air conditioning, welding, and electricity:

The program is to begin the school year with up to 120 students and, according to a city statement, formal alliances in place with everyone from McCormick Place to the carpenters, laborers and pipefitters unions. Also, Peoples Gas has agreed to house students for a training program at its new facility.

“This program is about the future of our children. It’s about getting an early start on the good jobs that are growing in our city and making sure that our children have the same access to those jobs as the children in other neighborhoods,” Dunbar Principal Gerald Morrow said in a statement.

Dunbar was originally a private trade school during the Second World War. Today it’s student population is largely African American public school, according to CBS:

In past years, it has been hard for black and Hispanic young people to get into the trade unions but Donald Finn, a business manager with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, says organized labor is fully aboard now.

“We in the building trades hope that enough children are interested in this program so we can expand this, not just keep it at Dunbar but move it throughout the city and we have all the trades in the future in this program,” Finn said.

In a city plagued by youth violence and and a troubling trend of minority arrests, every solution available should be pursued.


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