Building Trades Resurfacing at Former Connelley Trade School

When the Clifford B. Connelley Vocational High School opened its doors in the City of Pittsburgh in 1930, it was considered one of the premier trade schools in the country. With its spacious classroom and training facilities, high school students from throughout the city had the opportunity to be introduced to careers in construction by learning such crafts as carpentry, masonry, and plumbing.

Over the years, some 1,800 students a year were able to take other building trade classes, such as in HVAC, electrical systems and welding. Overlooking Downtown Pittsburgh from its perch on Bedford Avenue in the Hill District, the once magnificent 220,000 square foot school exposed students to a myriad of career opportunities in an industry where jobs could never be outsourced. Sadly, that all came to an end in 2004, when the school’s doors were closed and what little remained of vocational training was relocated. Today, only HVAC at Oliver High School and two small carpentry programs at Westinghouse and Carrick high schools remain.

But the closing of the facility (then known as the Connelley Technical Institute and Adult Education Center) did more than just signal the end of most vocational training in the city. It also signaled the end for city students to be broadly exposed to what residential, commercial and industrial construction involves. That is about to change…..

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