After much pushing from the community and alumni, Simeon Career Academy High School’s electricity program will be brought back this fall.
Chicago Public School announced the news Wednesday. A partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will provide high school graduates an opportunity to become an electrical apprentice. Initially, the program was cut due to lack of enrollment from incoming freshmen.
“After hearing from students, parents and the community, CPS is restoring the electricity program, providing our students the opportunity to learn technical skills and secure electrician jobs across the City,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Through our partnerships with local unions, local businesses and education institutions, we are committed to preparing the next generation of Chicago’s workforce.”
IBEW has agreed to offer jobs to any Simeon student who successfully completes the three-year electricity program. IBEW Local 134 represents 14,000 member and almost 700 city electricians. The union has partnered with CPS’ career and technical education to create an outreach campaign that will target middle school students. The goal is to stir up interest and create awareness in the program before high school.
Latisa Kindred taught the electricity class for seven years before she was laid off. The electrician said she has heard about the program being reinstated through others, but CPS has not contacted her directly about getting her job back.
“I haven’t gotten any notification,” she said. Simeon’s Alumni Association is holding a public meeting at the school, Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 6 p.m.
“We share in Mayor Emanuel’s support of the technical programs and opportunities for Chicago’s students, and looking forward to helping train and recruit the next generation of electricians,” said Terry Allen, Business Manager for IBEW 134. “IBEW is committed to offering employment towards apprenticeship and helping Chicago’s next generation workforce find job security and a path to the middle class.”
The program has space for 28 students each year. Students are able to enroll in the program beginning in their sophomore year. Those who were in the class last year can return in the fall.
“We are grateful for this partnership with IBEW that will provide our students with an opportunity to continue to learn valuable skills,” CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “CPS continues to enhance our CTE programs every year to provide students an opportunity to attain nationally-recognized certifications and technical skills that will meet the demands of a 21st century economy upon graduation.”
Earlier this month, State Senators Jacqueline Y. Collins (16th) and Donne Trotter (17th) and state Representative Mary E. Flowers (31st) met with Byrd-Bennett to discuss bringing the programs back. Rep. LaShawn Ford (8th)
Simeon’s other programs include: Accounting, Architecture, Auto Body, Barbering, Carpentry, Cosmetology, CISCO Networking, Culinary Arts, Early Childhood Education, Web Design and Welding