Project Simeon 2000

Our Past – Where We Have Been

Project Simeon 2000 (PS2) was ideally conceived by alumnus of Simeon Vocational High School in 1991 and incorporated in 1993. Recognizing limitations inherent in a vocational education program that is confined to the classroom, alumnus along with leaders of the Simeon Local School Council of 1991 identified a need to create an offsite, “real world” work environment for Simeon students. At the same time, the Local School Council understood it could not offer this type of intensified learning to the entire student population and thus students of various majors competed to be chosen to participate in this innovative program.

Project Simeon 2000 approached a local financial institution to secure funding necessary to acquire a dilapidated single-family resident for the students of Simeon Vocational High School (as it was known at the time) to have hands-on experience to parallel what they were learning in school.

This led to the creation of an “incubator” involving students majoring in carpentry, electrical, architecture, marketing, finance and business to apply their knowledge by restoring and ultimately selling renovated properties located in their communities. Many became “student leaders” who shared the knowledge gained from their experience with those who remained in the classroom. Faculty and administration dedicated to the development of the whole Simeon student were also involved in this challenge. It was at this point Project Simeon 2000 and their partners’ conceived and implement it plan to develop and create the new Simeon Career Academy.

At inception, the leadership of PS2 developed a Business Advisory Task Force, chaired by the bank executive who originally supported PS2 we engaged a number of prospective employers-Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Johnson Controls, Neighborhood Housing Services and others-in reviewing and updating the classroom curricula to reflect current practices in the corporate world in the various disciplines (majors) offered at Simeon.

Corporate partners were challenged not only to review and update curricula to reflect “state of the art” in respective fields, but were also asked to make financial, technological and in-kind commitments. This enabled students to train on the exact equipment they would encounter after graduation.

Today – Where We Are Going

A parcel of land located at 820 West 89th Street; Chicago, Illinois was purchased in February 2007. This site is now known as the Simeon Alumni Village (aka The Village) and contains two buildings. The larger building offers office space and a large space that has been designed and renovated by the students and Project Simeon 2000 into an event room. This facility is set to provide a setting in which students majoring in culinary arts and nutrition can showcase their talents by providing catering services and operating a restaurant. Business, accounting, marketing, etc. will also be involved in operating an entrepreneurial business enterprise. The Village is a meeting place for more than 1,000 alumnus of Simeon Career Academy and the Chicago Alumni chapter of Kappa Alpha Phi fraternity. It is emerging as a cultural center used by Simeon alumnus, community leaders, and residents. The Village also serves as a training center for life skills and vocational development. It’s becoming a hub for Green Technology and is a clearing house for community service.

The second, smaller building on the site is a small fabrication job shop. We initially envisioned it becoming a day spa in which Simeon’s cosmetology students can apply their skills to clients for certain personal services. The structure would first be renovated by students majoring in architecture, carpentry and electrical.

From our earlier efforts to create a hands-on work setting in which students can practice and refine skills in their respective majors, Project Simeon 2000 has a clear understanding of what it takes for an off-site, “real world” work setting to flourish. Our track record to date has been a positive one. Project Simeon 2000’s motto is Creating Dreams Building Futures. Students who were part of the initial experience have returned to the community and Project Simeon 2000 and are anxious to be mentors.

Project Simeon 2000 Pictures


Laughing On The 9