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IBEW Helps Save High School Electrical Training


September 3, 2014

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High-school students at Simeon Career Academy learn the basics of electrical work.

The IBEW has helped save the only electrical training program for Chicago public school students – just in time for the 2014-15 school year.


Citing low enrollment, Chicago Public Schools officials announced they would be cutting the electrical program at Simeon Career Academy earlier this summer, laying off instructor Latisha Kindred.

But partnership between the CPS and IBEW Local 134 convinced school and elected officials to keep electrical education in the public schools alive.

Local 134 has committed to providing every graduate with a guaranteed job and path to a full apprenticeship.

“Every graduate will be placed in our paid, training program and from there we will fast track them to our apprenticeship program, which provides full benefits, including a pension plan,” Local 134 Business Manager Terry Allen told DNAinfo Chicago.

Instructor Kindred, who is a 134 journeyman wireman, says she can’t describe her excitement. “Teaching here is very rewarding,” she said. “This will help boost enrollment, no question.”

Some of her students have already gone on to become Local 134 apprentices.

Simeon Career Academy is a four-year vocational high school located in the South Side of the city. It has offered electrical courses since 2007.

With millions of dollars of construction slated to come to the Windy City in the next decade, Local 134 Business Agent Secretary Don Finn says getting more students interested in the trades is a smart move for the IBEW.

“Some of the students come from rough neighborhoods where there aren’t a lot of jobs,” he said. “Many have no family members in the trades, so if they can’t learn about it at home, they can learn about in school.”

Kindred says the program was never fully marketed across the city, but the recent media coverage of the IBEW’s partnership with the school should generate new interest.

“Students will graduate with an understanding of what the trade offers, and an opportunity to enter the workforce and become an asset to both the local and their communities," she said.

Allen says that this partnership is part of the IBEW’s commitment to helping Chicago’s next generation of workers find job security and a path to the middle class.