(CBS) –Proponents of an electrician’s training program held a protest Monday at Simeon Career Academy, which eliminated the classes.
Amirious Clinton came back, and so did Malcolm Zeno.
They said they’re getting paid today because of what they learned in Simeon’s electricity training program.
The program, taught for seven years by Latisa Kendred, is gone now.
“The principal told me himself it was a budget cut decided on by himself,” Kendred said.
Kendred said many of her former students have landed jobs as electricians. Zeno is now a paid electrical apprentice.
“Before this program I didn’t think about being an electrician,” he says.
The neighborhood has high unemployment and high crime. Though Bulls superstar Derrick Rose went to Simeon, a pro basketball career is an unrealistic goal for just about everyone else.
Clinton, another graduate, goes to work downtown.
“I’m seeing both sides of the world every day — unemployment in my neighborhood and then see all this working people downtown. It’s just amazing,” he said.
A Chicago Public Schools spokesman said Simeon’s principal ended the electricity program because students were losing interest in it. CPS says only 18 of 370 incoming Simeon freshman wanted to enroll in the electricity courses.
Rainbow-PUSH plans to hold a rally this Saturday to support the program.