Furthering its commitment to promoting job growth in the neighborhoods that house its developments, Related Companies today announced it has partnered with Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. in creating a local hiring program at Marshall Field Garden Apartment Homes, a 628-unit affordable housing community in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood that is currently undergoing a $175 million redevelopment. Available to residents of the 27th Ward, the community hiring initiative already has created more than 30 full- and part-time positions at Marshall Field, including six apprenticeships with the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 134.
Related Companies divisions Related Affordable and Related Midwest are leading the renovation of Marshall Field on behalf of a public-private partnership that includes the City of Chicago and Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA). The project, which began in July 2015 and will extend the affordability of its residences for an additional 30 years, includes updates to individual residences, as well as the construction of a new fitness center, laundry facility and community room for the property’s residents. LR Contracting, also a division of Related, is serving as the project’s general contractor.
“As the largest affordable housing community in the 27th Ward, Marshall Field is a cornerstone of this neighborhood, so we knew we needed to have the right team in place to take on a project of this magnitude and importance,” said Don Biernacki, senior vice president of construction at Related Midwest and LR Contracting. “Whether working on an affordable, market-rate or mixed-income development, we always strive to hire from within the community – including minority- and women-owned businesses – because they have a vested interest in the success of a project. Marshall Field is no exception, and we’re proud to create jobs for hardworking Chicagoans who call the 27th Ward and, in some cases, Marshall Field home.”
In addition to offering 27th Ward residents more than 30 full- and part-time positions ranging from property management to construction, the hiring initiative includes six apprenticeships with the local carpenters’ and electricians’ unions. Combining on-the-job training with classroom education, the apprenticeships prepare participants for careers as skilled journeymen. Additional coaching is provided by Communities Empowered through Construction (CEC), the organization responsible for vetting candidates and placing them with subcontractors based on their areas of interest. Quality First, Lynden Inc. and Manor Electric Inc., three subcontractors on the Marshall Field project, have each hired apprentices through the program.
“This apprenticeship program is unique because it exposes candidates to a real work environment before they begin their formal coursework,” said Rachel Ivy, project administrator for Communities Empowered though Construction. “In immersing themselves in the construction culture, participants become fluent in the day-to day trade jargon and acquire skills that will help them succeed not only in the classroom, but also in their careers.”
Vincent Jackson, who holds a degree in electrical engineering and most recently worked for an airline catering company, is one of six apprentices who have been hired by Marshall Field subcontractors.
“To see this neighborhood change in the way it has been changing and to be a part of that is a good feeling,” said Jackson, a resident of the 27th Ward whose mother lives at Marshall Field. “I’m enjoying this job and look forward to waking up every day and going to work.”
The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters is committed to diversifying participation in our apprentice program,” said Frank Libby, president of the Regional Council. “We look forward to collaborating with community organizations and ward officials on future projects to ensure that eligible residents have access to our training programs. The Regional Council seeks to build both communities and careers, and our work in the 27th Ward is an example of how local residents can get involved in their community as they pursue a career in carpentry.”