New Partnership Gives High School Students Career Opportunities in the Trades

A new partnership between the Cleveland Building & Construction Trades Council (CBCTC) and Cleveland Public Schools will give students from Max Hayes High School a chance to learn from the best, and work with them too.

The agreement signed by CBCTC, the City of Cleveland, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District will provide students with the opportunity to enroll in a state-recognized pre-apprenticeship program during high school in order to help them meet union standards. Upon graduation, these students will have the opportunity to become apprentices and join the construction trades.

The City of Cleveland has made a commitment that more construction jobs within the city will hire more women, minorities, and city residents. The ultimate goal of this agreement is to give students a realistic opportunity to work for prevailing wage jobs within the construction industry.

“It is very important to try to make an impact on these students at a young age,” said David J. Wondolowski, Executive Secretary of the CBCTC. “Growing up in a city like Cleveland can sometimes be tough. Barriers exist all around these kids that aren’t necessarily there for those who grow up in the suburbs. This program will let them know that there is access to careers in construction if they want to work hard and apply themselves.”

Eight local unions have agreed to participate in the program and their JATCs will provide the curriculum and members to instruct the students. The eight unions include: IBEW Local 38, Laborers Local 310, Northern Ohio Bricklayers, Northeast Ohio Carpenters, IUPAT District Council 6, Pipefitters Local 120, Plumbers Local 55, and Sheet Metal Workers Local 33.

With this partnership, the Cleveland construction trades further position themselves as a viable career choice for today’s youth. National trends indicate a lack of young adults entering the manufacturing and construction fields.

“There is no better way to turn that trend around then to have programs like this,” added Wondolowski. “We have a similar program at Cuyahoga Community College which is also focused on young adults, and we have brought in quite a few people from that program already.”

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