Job training needed in Chicago — interview with Ald. Sue Sadlowski Garza (10), Chicago City Council

The following is a discussion with 10th Ward Alderwoman Sue Garza we had in February 2019 at the Chicago Teachers Union headquarters. Jobs for students and other youth, as well as all adults in need of work, remains a timely issue.

Substance reporter Dr. John Kugler and Ald. Sue Garza in a photo at the CTU, Nov. 2014.Substance: Sue, good to see you again. Sorry I missed your dad's funeral services I was busy and out of town. My condolences to you and your family.

Garza: Thanks John, no problem. I know you're busy and plus you got your family to take care of it.

Substance: How's it going now that you've been alderman for a little while. Is it getting easier?

Garza: Are you kidding? When people see that you can get something done, everybody and their relatives wants to talk to you and get stuff done. It's kind of opposite of the Chicago public schools, where people who want change and work a lot get punished and stopped versus the people who lay-low and follow the rules get promoted. In politics, the more you get done, the more people ask you to do stuff.

Substance: I imagine people want to do all kinds of projects, especially down on the south east side where you represent the city with all that empty land and old factories.

Garza: There's all kinds of developers and ideas that want to come down and put a lot of money in and yet subsidies from the city and I always ask what are they going to do for the local constituents. The ones that don't have any answers are the ones I usually don't listen to.

Substance: What about jobs for the local youth?

Garza: I'm trying my hardest, but you do know there's a lot of adults with families out of work or underemployed that also are competing against the same jobs that unemployed youth are. I represent everybody, so I have to be fair and help everyone out not just one special interest group. My thinking is we should get more job training for the kids when they're still in high school.

Substance: We can give the kids all the training that we can, but if they can't get a job then that's a big problem. Kids not having jobs increases violence in some of our neighborhoods. We need to be telling people they need to hire our kids after they're trained.

Garza: I agree, John, but again when someone is out of work and has a family I have to think of them first. Maybe we need to do something like internships or externships where our youth get a foot in the door and start on a skilled trade or another job that pays well and doesn't displace a regular worker.

Substance: There's plenty of work out there, Sue. Just our neighborhoods aren't getting those jobs.

Garza: Yeah, I know that, the problem is getting that connection between the kids and the employers. We can tell people they need to give students jobs, but then we send them individuals who aren't prepared it doesn't make us look good. So, what I need is people that have the basic skills ready for employers and when they go to work there isn't too much trouble with students at these places that are opening and need trained workers coming to work. They need to come on time and listen to what needs to be done.

Substance: The city has billions of dollars of construction work every year, I don't think they're giving enough opportunity to the residents of the local neighborhoods to get some of these jobs.

Garza: Again, John, the problem is when we bring those jobs in our communities, are the employees consistent and able to work without causing employer any disruptions in the workplace with attendance or the lack of skills. That is one of the reasons when I bring this up with companies wanting to do business in our ward, they tell me they have to hire people outside of Chicago because there is not enough skilled labor coming out of the schools anymore.

Substance: Yeah, I know, Sue. There's almost no vocational training happening at all inside of the city schools anymore, so maybe we have to ramp up some other ideas to get youth trained until the public schools get up to capacity again, like they used to be in the 70s and 80s. Remember back then they had Washburne trade school? The problem was its was very racist and was shut down because of racial disparities in hiring practices in the trades. After that everything moved out to the suburbs, but now companies need people that live in the city and don’t commute two hours one-way to get to work in the morning. Basic capitalism.

Garza: Well maybe John, we need to come up with some new ideas to training people, so they have jobs, I'm willing to listen and try things out, but you have to remember I represent all the constituents in my ward and not just one small special interest group. If you have any ideas, make sure you get a hold of me and come by my office so we can talk.

Substance: Okay. Tell Eddy, your brother, hello. I haven't seen him for a long time, ever since the Little Village and Pilsen days. ------------------------------------

Susan Sadlowski Garza is a member of the Chicago City Council serving as Alderman for the 10th ward. The 10th ward is located on Chicago's southeast side and includes East Side, Hegewisch, Jeffrey Manor, South Chicago and South Deering. She is serving her first term after defeating Rahm Emanuel ally John Pope in the 2015 election.

The daughter of union activist Edward Sadlowski, Sadlowski-Garza was born in 1959 at University of Chicago Medical Center in Hyde Park and raised on the southeast side of Chicago. She attended Jane Addams Elementary School and George Washington High School. She then went on to attend Western Illinois University for one year before dropping out. She later graduated from Governors State University with a bachelor degree and later from Concordia University with a master of counselling. She became a school counselor at Jane Addams Elementary School and joined the Chicago Teachers Union where she eventually became an Area Vice President.


July 11, 2019 at 9:56 AM

By: Jo-Anne Cairo

Sue Sadlowski-Garza

Thank You John for the interview. I want to Thank Susan for her representation at he Alderman Forum last month at Truman college with David Orr as the MC. She set a good example with Scott Waguespack of knowing there wards and what needs to be done. But one of the highlights from that meeting was when she told the audience about the 1 million dollar cost to pay Chicago Police for the Skyway, Susan was in shock and started to ask why? Three of the new Alder people were also there, still going through their honeymoon period. But Susan knew her business.At the Forum and Orr's questions were good.

August 17, 2019 at 10:49 AM

By: Kati Gilson

Interview with Alderwoman Sue Garza

They city need meow Aldermen / Alderwomen like Sue Garza. She does such amazing things for her district and the city! What a wonderful place Chicago would be if all public officials had her compassion, fearless motivation, willingness to speak up for what's right and community involvement.

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