“I am the youngest of 10 kids. We grew up in the projects of Springfield. My father was killed when I was teenager, and my mom raised us on public assistance and what she earned from her job as a waitress,” said Calvin Pitts succinctly. He doesn’t say this as an excuse or a statement to evoke sympathy or pity. Pitts clearly describes where he came from in order to establish perspective, credibility and the reasons for doing the work that he holds near and dear to his heart.
Pitts says he learned how to make choices by observing the choices made by others. After losing a cousin to the violence of the streets, he vowed to help others see that better choices were possible. He felt that even if he made only one life better, it would be worth the effort.
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Pitts began his career as an electrician apprentice in 1999, but saw that even the hardest working apprentice was not guaranteed a job. Pitts said, “I saw the disparity, and I began to think of possible investments I could make that would help me survive if I were ever laid off.”
Once he became a journeyman electrician and his pay increased, he purchased his first investment property. As Pitts was working on his property, he would hire guys from the neighborhood to work alongside the professionals. “I could see they were learning,” he said, and this revelation was the inspiration behind the creation of Southtown Construction Training Program, a formal job training program where he serves as CEO and instructor.