Labor’s support for St. Mary’s new skills training program receives high praise

The St. Louis Labor Movement received high praise for its support of a unique skills training program launching this fall to ensure St. Mary’s Catholic High School has a positive long-term impact on both the residents and the Dutchtown neighborhood where it’s located, giving the school an added new mission instead of being closed by the St. Louis Archdiocese as was planned earlier this year.

Appearing before the St. Louis Labor Council’s Executive Board last week, Michael England, the school’s president and mover behind the effort to take save the school from closing this year, applauded the efforts of the St. Louis unions, and especially the building trades, to work with the school to organize a skills training program tailored to young men grades 9-12, exposing them to the skills and good pay and benefits available through the trades.

The plan is to build a new training facility tailored to learning trades skills, with the facility used by students during the day and providing evening classes for adults looking to enhance their skills with the goal of joining a union apprenticeship program and earning decent wages and benefits.

The program will be similar to the Missouri Works Initiative’s St. Louis Building Union Diversity (BUD) program, which is a six-week course offering participants the opportunity to visit local building trade unions to give them hands-on basic training and a feel for each of the trades.

“This can be an amazing pathway to the future for so many,” England explained to the Council’s board meeting May 15.

The all-boys St. Mary’s High School, located at 4701 S. Grand, first opened in 1931.

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