Painters District Council No. 30 has selected a winner for its 2017 PATCH Foundation Grant. The $10,000 grant was awarded to Communities in Schools of Aurora, Inc on July 19th. CIS Aurora is a local chapter of Communities in Schools, the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization. For over 20 years, the Aurora chapter of CIS has provided K-12 students with necessary student services and after-school programming to help children successfully learn, stay in school, and prepare for adulthood.

CIS Aurora plans to use the grant funding to implement a college- and career-readiness program in middle schools all over Aurora. This program aims to educate middle school students on various career options while also highlighting the importance of identifying post-graduation goals at an early age.

Not only will this program inform students of the application processes and financial aid opportunities available under 4-year college plans, but it will also shine a light on alternative post-secondary career opportunities available through apprenticeships, vocational trades, and certifications (such as a career in painting, drywall, or glazing).

CIS Aurora’s programming is innovative in its approach to incorporate information on union apprenticeship programs and construction trade careers, and in its commitment to begin this essential conversation before high school. Once the program is implemented, PDC 30 plans to partner with CIS Aurora to offer site tours and coordinate classroom visits, using state-of-the-art virtual reality training simulators to demonstrate what a career in the finishing trades entails. Both organizations look forward to this opportunity to implement a more comprehensive career education program at the middle school level.

The 2017 PATCH Foundation Grant winner was selected by PDC 30’s CORE Advisory Council, which is comprised of staff and union members. This year’s team members include Aaron Anderson, Ryan Anderson, Michael Arnold, Aimee Arvayo, Stephen Baker, Todd Dotson, Mike Doyle, Beth Ernest, Mandy Jo Ganieany, Walter Herrera, Steve Kulovits, Mike LeGood, Arturo Martinez Jr., Brandon McCauley, Rafael Nunez, Dave Panico, John Penney, Marisa Richards, Juan Rostro, and Gerry Slowiak.

“We’re honored to be able to provide funding and apprenticeship education to Communities in Schools of Aurora,” said Ryan Anderson, Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer of PDC 30. “Our members are very invested in their communities, and it’s great to be able to make a positive impact on a local organization that works to help children succeed on a daily basis.”

To learn more about CIS Aurora and its past and present projects, visit cisaurora.org. To learn more about PDC 30’s grant program and to apply during the next grant cycle, visit pdc30.com/grant.