By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — There’s a building boom in Chicago. Everywhere you look, there’s a crane or backhoe. That means jobs for the men and women who do that hard work.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports a South Side church is trying to place more African-Americans on construction sites.

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In a church parking lot, young people learned to lay bricks. A 15-year-old Clarence Wilburn got his first lesson in cutting drywall, a mere taste of construction work at a job fair hosted by the St. Paul Church of God and Christ.

The fair was open to a variety of construction jobs, including pipefitters, operating engineers, electricians, represented by 22 labor unions.

Even though many African-Americans believe they are largely shut out of construction, construction executive Dan Allen insists the unions are open and eager to teach minority men and women how to do this work.

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“We have a talent pool here which is going to be the next generation of people building our infrastructure in the city,” he said.

Electrician apprentice Brandon Davenport worked at the new Chicago Athletic Club hotel. He says they paid well.

“We’re all ready now for others in the communities to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity,” said Elder Kevin Ford.

An “opportunity” that includes classroom instruction and on-the-job training if you’re accepted into an apprentice program. That’s determined by a test which does include math.

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The St. Paul Church has all the information you need, just visit www.stpaulcdm.org or call 773-538-5120.