Push underway to match Philly school students with apprentice opportunities

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Mayor Kenney is joined by labor leaders and school principals at meeting. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Mayor Kenney is joined by labor leaders and school principals at meeting. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney got together with the schools and the building trades to talk about how to provide more good-paying jobs to city students who are not college-bound.  

The meeting at City Hall was designed to make sure more city students enter union apprentice programs. Mayor Jim Kenney says it’s an effort to help people find their American dream.

“One of our biggest problems as a city is our poverty rate,” Kenney said, “and that poverty rate is directly related to the inability for people to get jobs that sustain families and buy homes and raise children and all the things our parents all wanted for us.”

Mike Neill runs the apprenticeship program for the electricians union and is making a committment to find more diverse recruits for the challenging training program.

“We have to sell them on what the end goal is and let them know this is a college, the same as going to college,” Neill said. “My daughter is an architect. My son is a fourth-year apprentice. Their education is very similar.”

An apprentice can make $57,000 a year after graduation. 

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