Cleveland Public Power partners with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the line worker trade union, IBEW Local 39, and the city for its Intern to Apprentice Program.
The program targets CMSD high school students to create pipelines to paid apprenticeships in electrical line work, cable splicing, electric meter installation and low tension line work.
The internship program is one strategy for filling union positions with Cleveland Public Power. There are roughly 88 open positions, according to Martin Keane, the director of the Department of Utilities.
Students can enter the internship program after graduating from a CMSD high school. The internship is full-time for one year and students make $16.50 per hour with benefits. Students can apply for the program as long as they graduated from a CMSD school within the last three years.
Students who complete the internship program can transition into the four-year apprentice program. Apprentices make between $30-50 per hour full-time, with healthcare and retirement benefits.
Earlier this year, Ta’Jahnae Buchanan became the first woman– and Black woman– to graduate from the line workers apprentice program.
Frogs over snakes
During a presentation from the city’s utilities department, Cleveland City Council Member Polensek said he is concerned about where the money from utility companies is deposited.
“There shouldn’t be a nickel… going to any institution that’s been redlining our neighborhoods,” said Polensek, who also said he will be paying attention to this during next year’s budget hearings.
“We’re not going to fatten frogs for snakes… If we fatten people who are not helping our neighborhoods, then shame on us,” he said, quoting late Council Member Fannie Lewis.
Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Utilities Catherine Troy said that the city’s Division of Treasury chooses the bank, not them. Currently, the money is deposited into Huntington Bank. She said that she did not know the details of Huntington Bank’s lending practices.