Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership offers free training for construction trades, manufacturing jobs

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership, a training and job resource network, works to place thousands of place every year.

"I know how it feels to be out of work. I know how it feels to be collecting unemployment. I have been there. I have struggled as a single mom. I have," said electrical apprentice Torian Anderson.

Anderson wanted to work in the construction trades but could not afford to pay for training. Now, she is working as an electrical apprentice with a full-time salary on the massive CTA Red-Purple line modernization project.

"It's exciting that when I get on the train and I look, I know that these trains are going back and forth and getting people where they have to go safely based off the work that I did and my coworkers and counterparts as well," Anderson said.

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Anderson was able to reach her goals through a program supported by the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.

"It is beautiful to see number one a woman, a woman of color, a woman of color who didn't have access to these programs, to be able to have that opportunity for free, and to be able to turn it into an apprenticeship," said Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. "You know, this is the kind of thing that just makes your day."

Norington-Reaves said the Partnership places thousands of people every year and trains them for in-demand jobs working with more than 2,000 employers in the region.

"It is life changing. It's not just about a job in this moment, it really truly changes a life," Norington-Reaves said.

"I feel blessed knowing I have a whole other field to go into," Anderson said.

Anyone interested in construction trades or manufacturing but cannot afford the training, they can reach out to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership at chicookworks.org or text skilltrades to 474747. People will get a text back with a link to a brief questionnaire about positions at CTA.

Anyone interested in skilled trades training and jobs can text. Those who respond will receive additional information about opportunities in the skilled trades sector in general, not limited to the CTA Red-Purple Line modernization project.
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