Northwestern job training program prepares to graduate second class


Allie Goulding/The Daily Northwestern

A construction site on Northwestern’s campus. The second class of trainees from a trade skills program are graduating this month.

Edmund Bannister, Reporter

The second class of graduates of a joint trade skills program between Northwestern and Evanston are preparing to complete their training later this month.

The six trainees will work full-time for the University and businesses in Evanston in areas such as utilities, carpentry and painting, said NU’s executive director of neighborhood and community relations Alan Anderson.

Anderson said the program began two years ago as part of an effort to provide jobs for young adults in the Evanston community and fill open positions at NU. All program participants were formerly unemployed or underemployed.

University President Morton Schapiro told The Daily in an interview earlier this month that providing job training to local residents was a priority for former Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl.

“One of the things that was very important to (Tisdahl) was that we train … potentially very talented people who are at-risk with very high unemployment rates,” he said. “I’m very happy that we’ve done that ever since I got here and it seems to be paying off.”

Anderson said that all six of the first wave of graduates were employed full-time — four directly by the University. The program not only provides job opportunities, but also addresses an important deficit in University staff.

“The University was specifically looking for some talent to come and work in the area of the trades,” Anderson said. “The majority of our labor force — probably two-thirds of our labor force — are already retirement eligible.”

In the future, Anderson said the University has plans to continue and expand the training program to address ongoing hiring needs.

Joshua Emanuel, a member of this year’s class, said he is set to graduate this month. He has trained at the electric shop and the central utility plant at NU for the past year. Emanuel said he recently secured a full-time job at the electric shop.

“The things that Northwestern has done with the community are outstanding,” Emanuel said. “It’s going to make a lot of Evanstonians really know that Northwestern is there, just like Evanston is.”

Emanuel said that the program has encouraged him to seek further education and career opportunities.

“This makes me want to go back to school and learn more about electricity,” Emanuel said. “I’ll try to work my way up the ladder and then hopefully be around for the next 30 years.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @ed_bannister