How can you build efficient Urban communities, homes, and businesses?

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Apprenticeship/trades training center

There is quite a bit of data to suggest that skills training for immediate job placement can be a turning point for inner cities. Training in apprenticeship programs from specialized trades like plumbing, electrical, carpentry (all trades still very much needed and in demand) to computer skills can provide legitimate job opportunities for our youth. This is a far better option to care for a family than joining gangs, selling drugs, etc. to support their families. It also is more immediate. College takes years which is prohibitive for many that need to be able to provide for their families right away- they cannot afford the luxury of waiting a few years. These trades are always needed and are lucrative- enough to self support.

Partnering with businesses to provide the hands on training in one or two (depending on the size of the city) centers where inner city youth can get training, and begin paid internships shortly after completing the training would build the next generation workforce of skilled tradesmen/women. A good example of public/private partnerships like this is in Aberdeen Maryland. Benfield Electric has partnered with schools to provide training (electrician's apprentice) to at risk youth in Harford County. It has been an incredible success.

While in training, part of the apprenticeship program can be actually learning the trade through building, wiring, plumbing some of the new structures being built to replace the blight. It can become self- feeding with some well constructed private sector partnerships.  This really should be explored as a way to completely change the culture to one of hope, possibility, and independence.

I registered just to give this a thumbs up.

Great idea and so crucial to the long term success of a community.

I work with Urban Array, we're a non-profit in Chicago building Social Tech Infrastructure building the tools for communities to share their skills and resources efficiently.

We plan to run our first Young Adult code boot-camp cohort this winter and will be expanding our offerings into building trades this fall.


Excited to discuss further!


Could use San Diego's business incubator as a model for ideas:

That looks like a terrific program. I like that you are starting with much younger children for learning/skills training. I think that is critical. I think the same model could be duplicated for trades- beginning with basic skills for youngsters (age appropriate) and graduating to more advanced skills in a logical, age appropriate progression.  This model combined with more accelerated apprenticeship/training for older youth (teens) that did not have the benefit of a program like this would be crucial as an immediate solution. This would meet both long term and short term goals. I think what Mason mentioned with Urban Array is leaning towards that immediate- short term. Modelling from both programs is ideal here. Thanks!

Hey @moprey and @mvoll, I couldn't agree more that you have to start early. I grew up in inner city Newark and was really lucky to get out. @mvoll, which building trades are you considering?

@andrescalderonve We'll start with carpentry and work from there. We have 5 buildings on 9 lots in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago which we will be rebuilding and rehabbing by activating our network of volunteers. Six new businesses are already going through an incubator with our partner E.G. Woode and will fill the spaces in the first building (which we recently finalized plans on).



@mvoll That is fantastic! Please keep us posted on the progress.  Public/Private partnerships really are the drivers for change. Thank you for what you are doing. Cheers!


BOEING does great work up here in the northwest--they capture the kids in high school and begin their apprenticeships while they're still in school. They have to go through the interview process after graduation but with the participation in the apprenticeship program [this was for machinists, if memory serves] they could arrive in their pajamas and probably still make it to a full time position. 🙂

I'm a soap maker, and this is a perfect industry for apprenticeships. It's great for discovering if you have a desire for aromatherapy, acupuncture, or other holistic type career because you need to understand at least the basics of essential oil therapeutics and blending, carrier oil properties, the basic chemistry of saturated and unsaturated fats, feng shui, chakras and related topics.

We could spend a morning on activated charcoal.

OH, and I'm pretty good at organizational design and operation matters in general. I'd be glad to add that eye to any project docs or etceteras.