A cohort of Black workers have graduated from a new painters pre-apprenticeship program, positioning them to succeed in apprenticeship trade programs that ultimately lead to career track jobs in the construction industry. This cohort represents the first graduating class who has completed the Ready to Work Filling the Pre-Apprenticeship Readiness Gap Program.
The training program was created through a partnership between the Los Angeles Black Worker Center and Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36. A special graduation ceremony was held on Friday to congratulate the students and award them with a certificate of completion.
“Hearing the graduates share how they appreciated their training makes me feel confident that this program was life changing for them,” said La Tonya Harris, Operations Director for the Los Angeles Black Worker Center, who directed the program. “I’m excited about how our center is helping them realize quality union careers in the construction field.”
The pre-apprenticeship program focused on teaching life skills that trained students how to enroll and excel in a construction trade apprenticeship program. The two-week training program took place at Christ Temple Church in South Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Black Worker Center originally aligned with Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36 last year to plan the pre-apprenticeship program. Once Southern California experienced a construction boom, the organizations felt it was advantageous to move forward with launching the training program.
“Since partnering with the Black Worker Center, over time we developed a curriculum that would prepare individuals how to excel in an apprenticeship program and a job in the construction industry,” said Kevin Bass, Assistant Political Director and Business Representative for Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36. “After experiencing an upturn in the industry this past year, we felt it was the right time to offer the training program.”
UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health also participated in the pre-apprenticeship program by conducting health and safety certification trainings for the students. “We wanted to ensure that students received the appropriate safety training needed to enter the apprenticeships,” said Yodit Semu, Environmental Career Worker Training Project Coordinator for UCLA Labor Occupational Safety and Health. “I am so grateful that our program could support this process and help Black workers get quality careers.”
LaQuan Morales, a father of three whose wife Brianna also completed the same training program, says that the course has already helped him jump start his career. “Through this program, I’ve received opportunities that I’ve never gotten before, like joining the union,” says Morales. “Now I can start earning money that I deserve so I can provide for my family.”
The pre-apprenticeship program was supported by Service Planning Area (SPA) funds allocated by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas. SPA funds are utilized by County Supervisors to support beneficial programs serving communities in their districts.