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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

West Side Resource Center Offers Training, Apprenticeships For Construction Careers At O’Hare

A partnership between a neighborhood group and a construction company aims to help West Siders fill the surge of jobs created by the O'Hare modernization project.

A construction resource center opened in Garfield Park offering free resources, training, apprenticeships and job opportunities for construction careers at O'Hare.
Provided by Turner Paschen Aviation Partners
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EAST GARFIELD PARK — A West Side neighborhood group is now the home of a resource center that provides training and career opportunities in construction.

JLM Abundant Life Center, 2622 W. Jackson Blvd., is hosting workforce programs to create an employment pipeline for construction projects at O’Hare Airport. The center is run by Turner Paschen Aviation Partners, a developer building runways at the airport.

Construction jobs are being created by the O’Hare 21 project, a $8.5 billion plan to redesign terminals, extend runways and improve transit systems at the airport.

“The work at O’Hare is massive,” said Pamela Fountain Brown, director of diversity and inclusion at Turner Paschen. “We know there are opportunities that will arise, and we wanted to share resources on the West Side to make sure those opportunities are extended to residents on the West Side. “

The JLM Abundant Life Center will connect job-seekers with apprenticeship programs that will allow people to get hands-on experience in specialized trades. Turner Paschen will also bring in subcontractors they are working with at the airport so residents can network and interview with them at the center, Brown said.

The center includes office space with computers that residents can use to build their resumes and apply for jobs.

The developer is scheduling a calendar of in-person and virtual training sessions that will be held at the Abundant Life Center. For more information on resources and upcoming events, visit the JLM Abundant Life Center’s website.

The JLM Abundant Life Center is a neighborhood group that offers job fairs, vaccination clinics, youth recreation and financial services, among other resources. The faith-based organization aims to “make sure that every single individual has the opportunity to experience an abundant life,” said Cheryl Hayne, events coordinator for the nonprofit.

The partnership will amplify the community work at the JLM Abundant Life Center and give the aviation developer a trusted foothold in the neighborhood to recruit, Hayne said.

The community group will be able to do outreach to connect with residents who would benefit most from the workforce programs, and those who already use resources at the center can easily get involved in the opportunities offered by Turner Paschen, Brown said.

“Being there gives us a lot of validation and street cred that they would be willing to house us,” Brown said. “My hope is that we would have managed to introduce to individuals careers and opportunities that they never thought they would have seen.”

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