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Here's a program that's lifting people out of low-paying jobs in Avondale

Kimberly Sims is making ends meet as a janitor on construction sites. But the Reading resident jumped at the chance f...

Posted: Dec 10, 2017 6:12 AM
Updated: Dec 10, 2017 6:12 AM

Kimberly Sims is making ends meet as a janitor on construction sites. But the Reading resident jumped at the chance for a better job when RWB Properties and Construction announced it would offer a free carpentry course.

"Who doesn't sit around watching HGTV and see things you're interested in doing?" Sims asked. "Even as a kid, that first Lego block set that you put together was so exciting."

She's a week from graduating from the 12-week course, armed with new skills and on a path toward becoming a carpenter making $50 an hour.

"It was a little intimidating being around a bunch of men, not knowing how to chalk or find a stud or read a measuring tape. But ask me how to do all of that now, and I'll be able to tell you," Sims said.

She's one of about 20 students in the inaugural carpentry class that RWB is running out of a vacant factory in Avondale.

The class is a promise kept to ensure that major development projects in Cincinnati's Avondale and other Uptown neighborhoods will directly benefit residents in predominantly black, low-income areas.

RWB is running the course, with a lot of help from other tradespeople, developers, a math teacher and a grant from Cincinnati Children's Medical Center.

HGC Construction sent 10 carpenters for a week of classes to show students the basics of woodworking. The first week was dedicated to OSHA safety practices, followed by math to learn how to make precise measurements.

"These folks were here for a month and a half before they touched metal or piece of wood," RWB Vice President Larry Bryant said.

Including low-income residents in neighborhood revitalization is something that everybody talks about, but getting it done takes a lot of money and a lot of extra work.

"What we've always explained to people is you have to have a specific skill set. You just can't put 50 laborers on the job, guys sweeping with brooms. That's not going to work," Bryant said. "There are not idle master electricians and plumbers walking up and down Reading Road."

Students are learning how to build metal and wood framed walls as well as lots of carpentry basics and a lot of math, which turned out to be the biggest challenge for Roberto Madaris.

"At first you have to know the numbers. That was the hardest thing for everybody," Madaris said.

Madaris, who recently moved to Colerain Township, has been a laborer at RWB for six years. He expects his income to jump $10,000 to $15,000 a year when he get an entry-level carpentry job.

"This carpentry class is to help better myself," he said.

Avondale Community Council President Patricia Milton points to the class as a bright spot in the slog to lift up residents as investment is pumped into the neighborhood.

"We're really trying to work towards real numbers, and we're really trying to help assist developers," she said. "It's moving very slowly, but we're headed in the right direction."

Is the program scalable to add courses for electricians, plumbers and other crafts? Bryant said it's not so easy, pointing to a pile of metal beams that cost $2,000 per bundle.

"Our two supervisors, Randy and Mark, they're working 7 am to 3:30, and I'm dragging them here 4:30-7 p.m. to teach for 12 weeks, so that's a lot," he said.

He can't speak for other trades, but Bryant said they'll do another carpentry course next year with the same partners, encouraged by the success of this first effort.

"We've identified eight to 10 people who really have a skill set for this, and they'll be hired by RWB," Bryant said.

Another five to 10 will be hired by HGC, Messer or other construction partners for apprentice work.

"Seventy-five percent will be offered a job. That's a pretty good placement rate," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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