New Student-Run Cooperative Opens in Chicago’s Austin Neighborhood

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Center for Workplace Democracy // workerdemocracy.org

Manufacturing Renaissance // mfgren.orgCHICAGO May 14, 2013 — Four African-American high school students at the Austin Polytechnical Academy (APA) in Chicago are applying their computer-aided manufacturing skills to a new worker-run business. The cooperative, called MECH Creations, will manufacture trumpet mouthpieces at APA, 231 N. Pine Avenue, Chicago, IL. With assistance from the Center for Workplace Democracy (CDW) and Manufacturing Renaissance (formerly Center for Community and Labor Research), the students, now business owners, have secured a patented design, created a business plan, acquired materials, and are ready to begin production this May.

“We’re starting MECH Creations to bring new business to our community,” says Jennifer Curtis, a 18-year-old student at APA. “We are four young women who will work for ourselves and our neighborhood to show that anything is possible for young people.”

MECH Creations will be debuted to the Austin community, and the city at large, on May 16th. Students will host a neighborhood event at 5pm, at APA, where they will present their plans and goals, and screen the documentary film, “Shift Change,” which tells the story of worker cooperative businesses that compete successfully in today’s economy.

“In school, we learned about the Mondragon Cooperative, the world’s largest worker-owned cooperative in Spain,” says Desiree Wordlaw. “It was started by five young people who attended a technical school that Austin Polytech was modeled after. We hope we can be as successful as them, and help bring money and jobs back to Austin.”

The Center for Workplace Democracy’s mission is to develop strong local economies and grow small businesses by promoting worker owned cooperatives, and other models of employee ownership.

“Chicago’s schools are full of graduating seniors without job prospects,” says Dennis Kelleher, Executive Director, Center for Workplace Democracy. “We’re partnering with students at Austin Polytech to support the idea that young people can start and run their own businesses, and take a leading role in revitalizing their communities.”

Contact:

Dennis Kelleher, Executive Director, Center for Workplace Democracy

815-243-0309, dennisk@workerdemocracy.org

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About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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