Rockford neighborhood leads grass roots effort to help people find high paying jobs

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Residents of the Keye-Mallquist neighborhood in Southeast Rockford believe the best way for many to earn a living wage is through the trades.

The group hosted a forum on Tuesday to discuss opportunities that are available to residents.

Representatives from local trade unions, along with Rock Valley College and Career Education Associates of North Central Illinois (CEANCI) served on a panel.

They went over qualifications and requirements necessary to pursue education and apprenticeship programs.

They’re looking for people interested in becoming electricians, ironworkers, plumbers and roofers.

Applicants can get training and be paid during an apprenticeship.

Terri Schierer, President of the Keye-Mallquist Neighborhood Group, said, “They’ll start them out, maybe $17, $20 an hour, and they’ll train ’em. And, they’ll train them for maybe five, six years. And, they’ll move up. Bumps in pay ’til they’re at about $40. So this is something that they can definitely help their families with.”

Rockford Police and Fire Departments were also on hand to answer questions about qualifications to become an officer or a firefighter.

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