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Identity & Community

Trade Institute Of Pittsburgh Opens Workforce Housing For Students

Trade Institute of Pittsburgh workforce housing Homewood TIP trades skills job (4).jpeg
Katie Blackley
/
90.5 WESA
Trade Institute of Pittsburgh executive director Donta Green speaks at the ribbon cutting of the organization's renovated duplex on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021.

Students at the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh have a new housing option near the facility’s Homewood campus. The workforce training program recently opened its two-unit six-bedroom duplex after a nearly $500,000 renovation.

At TIP, students spend 10 weeks preparing for a career in trades including masonry, carpentry and welding. About 80% of the students have previously been incarcerated, which can make it difficult for them to find jobs and housing when they reenter society.

TIP executive director Donta Green said the housing will give a chance for students experiencing homelessness to save money while they live in the low-cost units.

Trade Institute of Pittsburgh workforce housing Homewood TIP trades skills job ribbon cutting.jpeg
Katie Blackley

“Being from this neighborhood, being able to come back and serve in the neighborhood in which I grew up is huge,” Green said. “Anytime we get an opportunity to break down a barrier, it’s exciting for me.”

The duplex at 3909-3911 Susquehanna Street was in “deplorable condition,” when TIP acquired it, according to architect Marvin Miller. Much of the original structure had to be rebuilt over the two-year construction.

“This is an asset to the community,” Miller said. “[Students] can live here and gain the momentum of getting their finances and everything straight so at one point they can go back into the community.”

Pennsylvania state Rep. Ed Gainey, a Pittsburgh mayoral candidate who represents Homewood, praised TIP, saying it was a life-altering opportunity for many young people.

Trade Institute of Pittsburgh workforce housing Homewood TIP trades skills job (3).jpeg
Katie Blackley
The interior of the duplex on Susquehanna Street in Homewood.

“We always talk about young people and we talk about crime,” Gainey said. “But let’s talk about an institution that bursts life, let’s talk about an institution that has given people skills to be able to grow up and not just grow to, but to become productive citizens of society.”

At the Friday ribbon cutting, Green said it was the first time many of TIP’s current students had seen the interior of the duplex.

“They were all like, ‘How do I get a room? How do I get a room?’” Green said. “I’m pretty sure we won’t have any issues filling it up.”

Green said TIP is looking to acquire and restore other buildings in Homewood.
This story has been updated to clarify the cost of the project.