IDOT partners with Black chamber for construction training program
By Judy Masterson email@example.com October 16, 2013 8:20AM
For more information on the highway construction training program T.C.A.R.T., call the Black Chamber of Lake County at (847) 599-9510 or the Chicago Urban League at (773) 285-5800.
Updated: November 18, 2013 7:30AM
Recruiting is under way for a new training program for state highway construction jobs, some which pay upwards of $35 an hour.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is partnering with the Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County to find qualified applicants for the Transportation Construction Apprenticeship Readiness Training, Referral and Intermodal Placement Program or T.C.A.R.T.
Residents of Lake and McHenry counties can apply from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday at Waukegan City Hall, 100 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Applicants must be 18, have reliable transportation, a high school diploma or GED and an Illinois driver’s license. Applicants are also being sought in Kane, Cook, DugPage and Will counties.
T.C.A.R.T. is aimed at minority recruitment for union construction jobs, said Black Chamber of Commerce President Arthur Gass. Besides training, the program will afford minorities mentorship and valuable job connections.
“A lot of highway construction goes on in Lake County and we don’t have many minorities in that labor pool,” said Gass, who estimated minorities and women make up about 8 percent of the workforce on construction jobs around the state.
“The only way we’re going to be able to close that gap is by training minorities in the skills they need to fill apprentice and journeyman positions.” Gass said. “A lot of minorities just need an opportunity to do union construction jobs, an area from which we have been historically excluded.”
The program begins with a three-week “comportment” training, at the Black Chamber of Commerce, 1020 W. Glen Flora Ave., Waukegan and three other community-based organization partners in Chicago. The training will address expectations on industry conduct and life skills as well as a math refresher course deemed “critical” to success in the construction field.
Two more phases of training will follow, according to Gass, at the Laborers District Council Training Center, 5700 W. Homer St. in Chicago and Operating Engineers Local 150, 19800 W. South Arsenal Road in Wilmington, about 50 miles south of Chicago.
Each participant accepted into the program will receive assistance with transportation costs in the form of a bus card or gas card and a $100 stipend each week of the three-week training program.
The three-week consecutive classes will be held beginning Sept. 30, Nov. 11, Dec. 9 and in 2014 on Jan. 13, Feb. 3, Feb. 24 and March 17.