Joint Program to Help Women and Minorities Gain Jobs In Building Trades Is a Success at Two-Year Mark

Daley praises cooperative efforts of City Colleges, Construction Industry, Labor

Mayor’s Press Office, (312) 744-3334

A voluntary program created by the City Council and aimed at increasing the employment of women and minorities in the building trades has placed more than 150 City Colleges students in union apprenticeships in its first two years of operation, Mayor Richard M. Daley said today.

“In two short years, the Dawson Technical Institute has established itself as the top apprenticeship trainer in the city, and that is a tribute to the spirit of cooperation and partnership that so many different groups have brought to this effort,” the Mayor said in remarks delivered at Kennedy-King College, 3901 S. State St., where the apprenticeship training program is located.

The program was created in November, 2005, when the City Council passed an ordinance to provide financial incentives to companies that agree to sponsor Dawson graduates for union apprenticeships.

Under the ordinance, a City contractor gets credits if it agrees to sponsor graduates of Dawson=s Construction Program for union apprenticeships. The credits would be applied toward the company=s next bid on a City project.

“The ordinance doesn’t force anyone to participate and it doesn’t impose penalties. It merely tells contractors: If you=re willing to help these new workers gain a foothold in your industry, the City will make it worth your while,” Daley said.

“Two years later, we can be proud to say that the voluntary approach has been a successful one and that the Dawson apprenticeship program is helping us make sure the people who build our city are representative of the people who live in our city,” he said.

In its first two years of operation, the program:

  • Has formed new training partnerships with the Builders Association, Rush University Medical Center, ComEd, the Operating Engineers and the Painters unions and the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders.
  • Is providing specific training for Chicago residents on projects throughout the city such as Marshfield Plaza, Wilson Yards and the Rush University Medical Center Transformation Project.
  • Is working with the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development to help identify resources to help pay the tuition for residents who want to enroll in the program.
  • Is working with members of the City Council to help identify young people for the program and projects in the wards that they can work on once they are trained.
  • Has established a training program with Chicago Public Schools to expose high school juniors and seniors to job possibilities in the construction and building trades. Currently 27 students from seven city high schools are participating in the program. When they complete their training they will be eligible for apprenticeships on elementary and high school building projects managed by the Public Building Commission.

The 150 program graduates already placed in apprenticeships are in the following unions: Cement Masons Local 502, Bricklayers Local 21, Plumbers Local 130, District Council of Carpenters, Operating Engineers Local 150, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), District Council Number 14 of the Painters Union and Laborers Local 4.

“Preparing for a good job is one thing, but getting a job for which you are trained is another,” Daley said.

“Everyone in this program — from City Colleges and Kennedy-King to City government to organized labor and the private sector – has been willing to work together to provide young people with a chance to build a future for themselves and for our city through the construction trades,” he said.