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Massachusetts City Asks Unions to Help Fight Gangs

October 11, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Haverville, Mass.—The mayor of this old manufacturing city is asking local building-trades unions to help combat its growing problem of gang violence by mentoring at-risk youth and giving them apprenticeships. “Just to see how we can get kids into jobs,” Mayor James Fiorentini said of his talks with Laborers Local 175 and Carpenters Local 111 in nearby Methuen. The unions have been working with the mayor to meet with students at two local high schools about joining their apprenticeship programs, Local 175 business manager Michael Gagliardi told the Haverhill Gazette. “We want to show inner-city youth that there are opportunities to earn a living and own a home, get a pension, and take vacations away from violence and crime,” he said. “For some of these kids, that’s all they see.” Union apprenticeships also don’t require exorbitant loans, said Dennis Everett, a Haverhill native who escaped the streets by getting into Insulators Local 6’s training program, and people who didn’t do well in a formal classroom setting are often more comfortable working with their hands. “I’m encouraged by the drive of the city, and it’s important this issue is getting attention,” he added. Read more

October 11, 2017

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