Graduation Day for Cook County Facilities Management Pre-Apprentice Program

Youth in Juvenile Temporary Detention Center complete skilled trades training

Eleven students graduated as part of the Cook County Facilities Management Pre-Apprentice Program, which introduces residents of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) to skilled trades and career opportunities. 

The program is a collaboration between various stakeholders, including Cook County’s Bureau of Asset Management-Facilities Management, the JTDC, IBEW Local 134, Painters District Council #14, Chicago Public Schools, and Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. Supporters include Job Corps, Dawson Technical Institute (DTI) of Kennedy-King College, Turner Construction on behalf of the Obama Foundation, and the Chicago Transit Authority. 

"I am pleased and proud that Cook County Facilities Management is working to provide young people real-life training that can result in good paying jobs." Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said. 

Upon graduation, students earn future credit towards an apprenticeship with the Painter's Union (Painters District Council #14). From IBEW Local 134, the students will receive a certificate and letter of recommendation to support their entry into an electrical apprenticeship. 

Additionally, each participant receives “The Pre-Apprentice Program Resource Guide” that provides information to help residents successfully navigate life outside of the JTDC. The guide, provided at no cost, includes information about vocational career training opportunities, apprenticeships in the Chicagoland area, employment tips, employee rights, community resources and GED classes, among other resources. 

Following the successful completion of this program, participants receive ongoing mentoring from their journeymen instructors through quarterly luncheon meetings. They can attend union meetings as a guest of their mentors and become involved in-service projects with union members and volunteers. 

Successful participants also receive support in applying for any union trade apprenticeship, entry into Job Corps or other similar programs to help them pursue a skilled trade or other opportunity. Chicago Public Schools also provides credit towards high school graduation for youth that complete the pre-apprentice program. 

Since the program began in 2015, 65 students have graduated.