Chicago craftsman teaching the trades to the next generation

What’s old is new again in Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood.  

A craftsman is teaching the trades to the next generation of builders.   

"It’s a taste of historic trades, so what we're teaching is the stuff you need to maintain, rebuild and restore old housing, which is very typical in Chicago," said Nick Lubovich, the executive director, creator and founder of Pullman Tech Workshop.  

It’s a workforce development training program, in its second year, that’s trained more than two dozen new craftsmen.   

"The big picture is to get them to work for somebody else or even possibly work for themselves, restoring and rebuilding old houses," said Lubovich.   

Lubovich created the program while restoring his own Pullman home. He quickly realized there were few craftsmen in the area well-versed in restoring historic homes.  

William Brown is a father of three and team leader in the program.  

He enjoys making old things shiny and new again and is working hard to support his family.    

"It's showing them that my dad is getting up every day, going to work, he's doing something," said Brown.  

Shumotta Gaines’ children also inspired him to build.  The Englewood native has two children.  

"I want to be a role model to them, a person they can look up to.  I want to take care of them and I don’t want them to want or need for anything," he said.  

The six to twelve-week classes just received a $50,000 grant from the S.C. Johnson company and it’s already making a difference.  

"This can be life-changing because I can be able to find more of a career path with it," said Jalen Henderson who lives in Auburn Gresham. 

"The thing that surprised me the most was the way that you can just bring something back to life," said Jerwaun Wilkerson of Roseland.  

A colorful example of their work is already on display.   

"When you ride through Pullman and you see those porches, we did that," said Brown, pointing to a row of wooden decks brought back to life by the group.  

A new generation of builders, in the city of big shoulders, making a lasting mark on Chicago.  

The Pullman Tech Workshop offers classes as well.  

High school students can learn how to work a saw and homeowners can see what it takes to restore their own homes.  

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