Communities Partnering 4 Peace and City Colleges of Chicago Celebrate 30 Workforce Development Graduates
Communities Partnering 4 Peace (CP4P) and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) celebrated 30 graduates of their joint 10-week workforce development certification programs on September 14, 2023 at the Arturo Velasquez Institute in Pilsen.
The students were selected from 13 CP4P partner organizations and completed a rigorous curriculum during classes held on Friday and Saturday evenings at Daley College in Pilsen and Wright College in Humboldt Park. Students earned certifications in computer numerical control (CNC) machine learning, welding and forklift operating.
CP4P Case Managers review and select candidates who are encouraged to apply. The classes are scheduled on weekends to allow participants the ability to maintain their current employment and familial commitments.
“I was introduced to this great program by my Target Area Development Case Manager,” said CNC graduate Tatiana Modeliste. “Attending this class for the past 10 weeks, I have learned how to successfully create and run programs, change tools, troubleshoot and make pieces made from various metal materials. Now that I have completed the program, I plan to apply the knowledge I have attained to pursue a career in CNC.”
Dominic Yao, Metropolitan Peace Initiatives Workforce Development Supervisor, commended the commitment of the CCC instructors and the CP4P Case Managers who make the program successful.
“Thank you for dedicating your weekend evenings and beyond to be here for participants. Target Area Development Corporation, UCAN, Institute for Non Violence Chicago (INVC), New Life, Alliance of Local Service Organization (ALSO), Enlace Chicago, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Public Equity, and Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR), thank you for honoring your participants as they celebrate their achievement,” said Yao. “CP4P and CCC have partnered with these community violence organizations to support these 30 individuals who completed 10 weeks of manufacturing instruction and earned a forklift certification. The training has given these individuals an opportunity to sustainable employment and career paths. This opportunity will allow these individuals to pour back into their families and communities as they build for tomorrow.”
Welding Instructor C.J. Sikora agreed that CCC staff and CP4P participants enjoy the program, “I think the instructors enjoyed the classes – this is the second cohort. This group has been a good cohort. It’s only 10 weeks but it’s enough to get them started on a career pathway. We’d like to see this program provide college credit and we’d like to expand it to include a manufacturing course.”
Welding graduate Nicholas Griffin summed up his experience during his commencement address, “If I were to think of one word to describe this journey it would be beneficial. Beneficial because all students have obtained their certifications for forklifting and welding. Beneficial because all students have overcome hardships and were able to stay motivated through this course. Beneficial because coming into this class we didn’t know each other from a can of paint. But after a long 10 weeks of community learning and bonding I feel that we are all part of the same family.”
“I appreciate CP4P and the CCC faculty for this wonderful experience,” added Modeliste. “The class has shown me that if I put my foot forward, I can achieve and learn anything with greatness. The support from MPI, our instructors, our peers and family and friends made it easier to successfully finish the program and be a certified professional. Thank you for this life changing opportunity.”