With groundbreaking later this year for the Barack Obama Presidential Center, the Obama Foundation is stepping up its efforts to train workers from the South and West Sides of Chicago for skilled trade jobs on the project.
The goal is to hire 35% of the construction workforce for the complex in Jackson Park from the South and West Sides, the foundation said.
The foundation is leveraging the building of the center to create a trained and experienced workforce from communities whose residents face historic difficulties in breaking into the trades.
The “OPC Construction Workforce Initiative will create an inclusive construction workforce trained with skills to build the OPC, and create a diverse pipeline of talent that can be funneled to construction projects across the city,” the foundation said in a release.
The specific communities to be targeted are: Austin, West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, North Lawndale, South Lawndale, Lower West Side, Archer Heights, Brighton Park, McKinley Park, New City, West Elsdon, Gage Park, West Lawn, Chicago Lawn, West Englewood, Englewood, Armour Square, Fuller Park, Kenwood, Bridgeport, Ashburn, Auburn Gresham, Washington Heights, Morgan Park, Roseland, Pullman, South Deering, East Side, West Pullman, Riverdale, Hegewisch, Chatham, Douglas, Oakland, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Washington Park, Woodlawn, South Shore, Avalon Park, Burnside, Calumet Heights and South Chicago.
Applicants will have to provide a proof of residency, such as a driver’s license.
To learn more about these programs and to apply, the link is Obama.org/opc-jobs
The foundation has pledged $850,000 to partner organizations dealing with workforce development — Chicago Women in Trades, HIRE360, Revolution Workshop and St. Paul’s Community Development Ministries — to cover costs for getting people into the training pipeline.
The foundation said the aim is to train 400 “new apprentices from the South and West Sides.”
Some applicants may be eligible for, the foundation said, “stipends and financial support to help cover transportation and child care costs for low-income workers, costs for the tools, union fees and other expenses tradespeople are typically made to cover.”