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Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that Simeon Career Academy High School will reinstate the electricity career and technical education (CTE) program this school year (2014-2015). Through a partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), high school graduates of the electricity pathway will be provided employment that earns a paycheck and points towards becoming an electrical apprentice.
“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.”
Beginning next year, IBEW has committed to offer jobs to students who complete the three-year electricity program at Simeon, the only program of its kind in the District. IBEW, which represents 14,000 members, has also committed to partnering with CPS’ CTE on a comprehensive outreach campaign geared toward middle school students to create awareness and sustain enrollment in the program.
“We share in Mayor Emanuel’s support of the technical programs and opportunities for Chicago’s students, and we are 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 three-year program will have the capacity to enroll 28 students each year, beginning in a student’s sophomore year. Students enrolled in the program last year are eligible to return. The electricity program is one of more than 40 different types of CPS Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, which offer industry-focused coursework for high school students to pursue, in addition to required core courses.
“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.”
“I am pleased that the electricity pathway will be restored for Simeon’s students, and applaud the hard work of the community and IBEW in arriving at a resolution that will benefit students and our community,” said 21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins. “Both Mayor Emanuel and I share in a common vision of empowering education and increasing jobs, and this collaborative effort will result in increased career-readiness for our students."
State Senators Jacqueline Y. Collins (16th) and Donne Trotter (17th), along with state Representative Mary E. Flowers (31st) applaud this reinstatement and have long supported the District’s career and technical training programs that are preparing students for jobs of the 21st century.
In 2009, CPS began a 7-year CTE Reinvention Strategy aimed at dramatically improving CPS CTE students’ preparation for post-secondary success.
Simeon remains a wall-to-wall CTE school with a commitment to the trades. In addition to the electricity pathway, programs include: Accounting, Architecture, Auto Body, Barbering, Carpentry, Cosmetology, CISCO Networking, Culinary Arts, Web Design and Welding. Each of these pathways provide students the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications and/or college credit while in high school.
CPS offers 40 different types of CTE programs in 12 industry areas serving 17,000 students across 60 high schools. The portfolio of industry areas includes: Agriculture and Horticulture, Business and Finance, Construction and Architecture, Culinary and Hospitality, Education, Health Science, Information Technology, Media and Communication Arts, Law and Public Safety, Manufacturing, Personal Care Services and Transportation.