Carpenters Union’s Career Connections Program Helps Illinois High Schools Fill Vocational Education Void


The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters is partnering with high schools across Illinois to offer career pathways to students interested in the building trades.

The Regional Council’s Career Connections program is designed to help high school teachers introduce students to basic and intermediate carpentry, advanced skills in commercial and residential construction, and the essentials of construction site safety. The program also includes training in the employability that research shows employers value most, including: goal setting, positive attitude, punctuality, teamwork, and taking initiative.

“The Career Connections program is designed to introduce students to a lifelong career in the Carpenters Union,” said Gary Perinar, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Chicago Regional Council. “This is a cost-effective initiative for high schools with materials written by United Brotherhood of Carpenters’ instructors who are the best at what they do. The response from students has been outstanding and we look forward to partnering with more high schools across the state.”

Career Connections fills the void of vocational education programs that were once ubiquitous in high schools but have become increasingly rare over the past 50 years.

The Carpenters Union training program gives opportunities to students they didn’t even know they had,” said Dr. James Gay, Stagg High School’s Superintendent.

Teacher support is a major feature of the program. All books come with an annotated edition that provides teacher class notes, rubrics for each project, project evaluations, a tool safety operation checklist, a comprehensive skills matrix, and estimated timelines for teaching.

“The curriculum was created to help high schools start their own program, said Vince Sticca, Director of the Chicago Regional Council’s Apprentice and Training Program. “We have a complete program that tells you what tools you need, as well as project blueprints and step-by-step information. It’s a tremendous resource.” Fifty students are already participating in newly launched carpentry program at Stagg High School.

To learn more about the Career Connections Program visit or call (847) 640-7373.

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