Hundreds of high schoolers get hands-on construction experience at Obama Presidential Center site

ByMaher Kawash WLS logo
Sunday, January 29, 2023
Hundreds of high schoolers get hands-on construction experience at Obama Presidential Center site
EMBED <>More Videos

Some Chicago high school students will have the chance to get construction jobs at the Barack Presidential Center site in Jackson Park.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Obama Foundation is putting Chicago's youth at the forefront of its presidential center, which is being built on the South Side in Jackson Park.

Hundreds of students from more than 100 high schools went to the site on Saturday to get some hands-on experience. Some get a chance there to lay brick on.

"You can't be what you can't see. So, our main goal here is for kids to see all the options that there are out there," said Kelly Powers-Baria with the Lakeside Alliance.

SEE ALSO | Housing investors flock towards Obama Presidential Center causing gentrification woes: Investigation

The students all got to talk with different organizations that are currently working to complete the new presidential center.

Students there even have a chance to soon get a job on-site, dealing with architecture and construction as soon as they graduate.

It's an exciting opportunity some of these kids never thought would be possible.

"It's really a blessing, because I didn't know people were looking out for me, wanting to get into this event, because I didn't really know that it was something of this magnitude. So, I'm happy to be a part of it," said Noah Black, a Providence St. Mel student.

One of the main goals behind this center is to give students all across Chicago some hands-on experience. Students told ABC7 they came together with plumbers to create some of the interior construction. The hope is for Saturday's event to create more of those opportunities.

"It's really cool and awesome, because, you know, Black kids don't really get chances like this, and opportunities, so it's really awesome," said Mikiel Kaywoob, a King College Prep student.

RELATED | Obama Presidential Center construction halted after noose found on site

The Lakeside Alliance said construction for the Obama Center is still on-track to be completed by 2025.

It's a project that aims to include people in the community, and one that many are proud to see in their hometown.

"Knowing that his building is coming here into our neighborhood, and that we get a chance to be a part of the building of it, I couldn't ask for anything better," said We Can Build It Outreach Coordinator Lindsey Wright.