Work on the long-awaited Howard El Station redevelopment began this summer, and nine Rogers Park and Edgewater residents are among the approximately 50 workers who are employed on the project thanks to the joint efforts of the Chicago Urban League, the Good News Community Kitchen and Alderman Joe Moore.
Moore, together with the Urban League and Good News, publicized the availability of the jobs and worked to identify community residents who were qualified for the positions. “I’m thrilled that work has finally begun on the new el station,” Moore said, “and I’m equally thrilled that we were able to find jobs on the site for the residents of my community,” he added.
The jobs on the Howard el redevelopment are all skilled positions that require union membership. Recognizing that many neighborhood residents lack a union card and the necessary skills to receive one, Moore launched an effort to identify and train local residents to qualify for union apprenticeships.
With the help of the Howard Area Community Center and the Organization of the Northeast, Moore hosted a community meeting last May to advertise the availability of jobs at the Howard El Station site for union card holders and to launch a training program for those who lacked a union card but wished to pursue a career in the construction trades.
As a result of those efforts, 20 people have qualified for a pre-apprenticeship training program at Dawson Technical School, and another 22 people have been referred to the Howard Area Community Center for remedial skill building.
Moore, who is also sponsor of the Big Box Living Wage Ordinance that requires large retailers in Chicago to pay their employees a living wage, emphasized the link between decent-paying jobs and strong communities. “As we enter the Labor Day weekend, it is important to remember that good jobs make for strong and stable families and strong and stable neighborhoods,” Moore said. “Anyone who wants to put in an honest day’s work should be able to do so at a job that pays a decent wage and provides decent benefits,” he added.
“Our efforts at identifying neighborhood residents for local construction jobs won’t end with the Howard El project,” Moore said. Moore hopes to identify community residents for construction jobs at the upcoming Gale Community Center project as well as the other projects in the neighborhood.
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