Related Midwest Blog

Workforce Development Month Spotlight: Related Midwest Hosts Work Study Interns Through CPS Program

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Recognizing the need for students to expand their knowledge outside of the classroom, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) offers work-based learning programs that allow pupils to get real-world experience in their interest areas at companies across the city. Related Midwest is proud to serve as a host site for this program through our partnership with HIRE360, which places CPS students interested in the trades with companies who can provide experiential learning.  

When students start the program during their junior year of high school, they learn about many different trade careers. During their senior year, they narrow in on the one they are most interested in and work toward preparing for their union entrance exams. Summer internship opportunities at companies like Related increases their exposure to real life examples in their area of choice from a different, but relevant, perspective. 

Students spend four hours a day at Related, learning about the construction and real estate industries from staff. They also visit Related sites and see how different development and construction projects are planned and executed. For example, this summer, interns visited the Local 130 plumbers union and had a chance to ask questions and learn from professionals. 

“Related Midwest was a wonderful intern host,” said Jonathan, a CPS rising senior. “I had the opportunity to visit finished and nearly finished construction sites and learn about them from a plumber and electrician perspective. Thanks to this exposure, I’ve decided I want to pursue a career as a plumber and join the union.”  

Beyond career exposure, Related Midwest recognizes that students need mentoring through next steps to enter the trade fields. Related also connects students with the information they need to apply for college scholarships, as well as informs them about pre-apprenticeship opportunities that will help them prepare for trade exams.  

“Exposure is significant, and it’s very rarely provided to Black and Brown kids,” said Yanet Garcia, Vice President, Construction, Related Midwest. “Through programs like this one, we can show youth in our community that the trades are a lucrative career path and help build the next generation of trade workers.”