On a gorgeous early autumn day, I attended a fundraiser for the ‘Chester Trades Education Project’ on Saturday. Several vendors were set up in the street in front of the Swarthmore Inn who all donated all their proceeds from the day to the ‘Chester Trades Education Project’ (CTEP).

CTEP is a program that answers the call to bring vocational education back to Chester City by teaching job skills to city residents and putting them right to work. 

The concept was announced earlier this year by the the new president of the Rotary Club of Swarthmore, Dr. Kathryn Jones. Their role is to manage the project, build the financial partnerships, supplement funds for students’ program expenses and partner with other Rotary Clubs of which the Rotary Club of Chester was quick to join.

The program accepts male or female young adults 18-years-old or older for CTEP with the goal of teaching the trades that result in good jobs. 

The classes are held at the Delaware County Community College’s Advance Technology Center and at the Chester Housing Authority who intends to employ a group of students who complete the program. They’ll use their newly minted carpentry skills in housing development renovations. The first group of 12-students are already in class and receiving on the job instruction with CHA. Students are identified and recruited by Riverside Futures. As the program grows, other trades beyond carpentry will be offered. 

There’s no cost to the students for this trades education but there is a funding gap to provide for student expenses not covered by Federal and State scholarships to cover safety testing, funds for work clothes, drug tests, and transportation. The program itself requires funding for marketing, advertising and website costs. Hence, the fundraiser. 

By the looks of thing, the fundraiser was a success. I stayed for a little more than an hour, had a burger and a beer, talked to a lot of folks who were familiar with me from my articles in the Swarthmorean paper and Chester Matters Blog, and enjoyed the live entertainment. I believe the fundraising goal for the event was $10,000. I’d be curious to know how close they came. 

Thanks Rotary Club of Swarthmore and DCCC for helping to bring trades education back to Chester. 

If you’d like to donate, make checks payable to Swarthmore Rotary Charitable Trust and send to PO Box 423, Swarthmore, PA 19081. Put “CTEP” in the memo line. Donations are fully tax deductible. 

As I’m enjoying the band, someone comes past our table and tells us that red car is parked right in the middle of the event because no one could find the owner and have it moved. It got to the point that the event planners couldn’t delay any longer and had to set up the street around the car. Whoever owned the car would just have to leave it there until the event was over. She was stuck.

Since we’re at a fundraiser, someone at the table suggested The Rotary Club should raffle off the car. Of course, no one would be allowed to win but the hope was that the real owner would show up and would act all excited when they announced her as the winner and drive off in her ‘not so new’ car.

I wonder if that could have worked?