When it opened its doors in 1942, Dunbar High School had a construction trades focus for its students. Now, a new CPS program will return this neighborhood school to its roots, giving students a leg up on careers in today’s construction industry.

Students interested in carpentry, welding, HVAC, and electricity will be at home on Dunbar’s new Construction Trades Campus, which promises to school CPS youth in the specialized skills being sought by businesses and trade unions throughout Chicago. The program is scheduled to open in fall 2016.  

With support from experts in the trades , CPS will create a custom-made curriculum open to students citywide – an intensive two-year program that will help young people develop concrete skills in the pathway of their choice. The program will also provide authentic workplace experience, including internships and pre-apprenticeship opportunities, and will allow students to create a portfolio of work to help catapult them into sustainable, middle-class jobs.

The expansion at Dunbar is the latest step CPS is taking to prepare students for success in the days, months and years following high school graduation. This program will not replace a strong foundation in core academic subjects, but will enhance that education by adding skills and experience that will prepare students to compete in a 21st-Century workforce.

This exciting investment is being supported by Mayor Emanuel and Congressman Bobby Rush, and would not be possible without the partnership of Chicago’s construction firms and trade unions. These industry experts will work with CPS to ensure that the program at Dunbar is a relevant, useful introduction to the skilled trades, and that it will provide students with the experience they need to transition into highly-skilled careers.

This partnership highlights the critical role that the larger community plays in successfully educating Chicago’s children. It is a perfect example of the bridge CPS works to build between schools, their surrounding communities, and the city as a whole.

To learn more about the partners supporting this program, or to apply, visit chicagobuilds.org.