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Advanced manufacturing training program expands

Recent Rich East High School graduate Tribuana Jones

Recent Rich East High School graduate Tribuana Jones at a Prairie State College manufacturing skills training class

By Edward Paesel

Recent Rich East High School graduate Raheem Johnson likes working with his hands. One day he wants to study architecture. Or construction. But he isn’t sure and wants to buy some time.

Fellow graduate Tribuana Jones was absolutely sure she did not want to work at McDonald’s for the rest of her life, but was uncertain if she could afford college or if she even wanted to go.

So on July 8, Raheem and Tribuana, along with Rich East teacher Rodney Freeman, showed up for the first day of class in a manufacturing skills training program at Prairie State College. It’s the first time recent graduates and high school educators have become involved in the grant-funded program for displaced or unemployed adults. It is run by the Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership.

“A universal high school mantra is that we need to prepare students for college, but a lot of kids don’t have the money or desire for college,” said Rich East High School Principal Mark Kramer. “We also need to prepare them for jobs.”

In response, Kramer took 30 students on tours to Kay Manufacturing Co., Esmark Steel and Luster Products last school year, and is also taking steps to add manufacturing skills training to the curricula at Rich East High School. In addition, he is sending teachers like Freeman to learn the program. The first Rich East manufacturing classes are scheduled for the 2014-15 school year… Please click here to read the rest of Ed Paesel’s guest commentary in the Times.

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