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Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Education

CMSD agreement for construction of Max S. Hayes High School could be example for country

(Plain Press, February 2014) The Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD’s) efforts to make sure recent graduates, Cleveland residents and minority and female workers help build the new Max S. Hayes High School will be featured in a video at a national labor conference in March.

The District and the construction manager, Higley Bowen Construction Partners, have an agreement that calls for recent CMSD graduates to log 15,000 hours on the project. Higley Bowen also is to see that the general contractor and subcontractors make good-faith efforts to employ Cleveland residents and minority and female workers.

North America’s Building Trades Unions, the conference host, has traveled across the country to view collaboration that promotes the hiring of skilled workers and creates pipelines to jobs, said Tom Owens, the group’s director of marketing and communications. Other stops have included New York City, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles andJackson, Miss.

A videographer recorded interviews Wednesday at the construction site near West 65th Street and Clark Avenue, talking to District Chief Operating Officer Patrick Zohn and apprentices with connections to Cleveland and the schools.

The video will be shown at the conference, which will run from March 9-12 in Washington, D.C. Copies will be distributed to all 3,000 participants and to state and local construction trades councils throughout the country.

“This is going to be shown around the nation,” said David Wondolowski, executive secretary for the Cleveland Construction and Building Trades Council and the contact who steered Owens to CMSD. “It’s going to put CMSD on the radar to say, ‘This is who we want to emulate.” “

Max S. Hayes, now at 4600 Detroit Avenue, is a career and technical school that will provide state-of-the-art programs at its new location. The project, budgeted at up to $44 million, is to be finished in time for the 2015-16 school year.

All the workers on the project are union members. Wondolowski said the council and CMSD have nearly completed design of a program that will move Max S. Hayes students into apprenticeships.

Pharoah Hill, a glazer’s apprentice who went to Collinwood High School, and Chiela Long, a pipefitter’s apprentice who attended CMSD K-8 schools and now lives in the Slavic Village neighborhood, told the videographer about the training and mentoring they have received on the job.  Long, 30, spoke about being a woman in a field dominated by men.

“I have the ambition,” she said. “I’m not a quitter. I’m going to do whatever it takes.”

Zohn said the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council is a good partner. “We look to them not only to build quality buildings, but to provide quality mentoring to our students so our students can be the quality builders of tomorrow,” he said.

Owens and the videographer also visited Mayor Frank G. Jackson, who championed a community benefits agreement with local institutions and corporations. The agreement promotes the training and hiring of minority workers and Cleveland residents in construction projects.

Editor’s Note: This online version includes a correction made to the print version of this article. As noted above the new Max Hayes is expected to be finished in time for the 2015-16 school year. (The print edition incorrectly stated it would be finished in time for the 2014-15 school year.)

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