Southwest: Training Program for Troubled Youth

John McCullough, founder of the Philadelphia Training Program, with two of his students.

For the past several days, students from the Southwest have been collecting signatures regarding the placement of the Philadelphia Training Program within the former M.A.B. Paint Factory, which is rumored to soon be turned into a prison.

John McCullough, director of the Philadelphia Training Program, explained that the factory would be used to offer vocational skills training and housing facilities. It would, in any capacity, be a prison. He compare his program,which he hopes to have placed in the former factory, to programs like Job Corps. His students are educated in trade work. They receive electrical training and education on plumbing, carpentry and roofing.

“Ain’t no basketball courts our here. Ain’t nowhere for kids to run and jump rope. Where’s it at?” he asked.

Philadelphia Training Program, hosted in Berry Long Memorial United Methodist Church, has sent information from five high schools in Philadelphia regarding troubled students. If they have been in any trouble with the law and their principal sees hope for reformation, the student will be referred to McCullough’s program. “We have schools and churches in the community that support our efforts,” said McCullough. His students come to him as early as 7 a.m., organize and collect the tools they will be using for the day and then receive their training.

His intention? To keep children off the streets and increase their chances at a better future. McCullough proudly boasted of the students who left his program and went on to become police officers and fire fighters.

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