NBA Star Russell Westbrook continues to give to the community he was raised. The Westbrook Why Not? Foundation and Chad Brownstein teamed up to create a computer engineering program for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.
The Westbrook/ Brownstein Green Tech Program will offer corps members in computer literacy, drone operating and coding. Members who are committed to the program will take advanced drone operating classes; the Green Tech Program will also help corps members earn their drone license.
“It means a lot to me to partner with Chad and the L.A. Conversation Corps on this new project. As a kid who grew up here in L.A., I know how important it is to feel supported and empowered by the community,” Westbrook said. “By helping to provide these resources my hope is that the youth will be able to see how bright their future can be and expand the vision of what they think they’re capable of.”
Brownstein approached L.A. Conservation Corps CEO Wendy Butts with the opportunity, and she saw it as a time to revive a previous program that was disbanded a few years ago. The program was supported by Intel and outfitted for a lab in the Conservation Corps’ John Van De Kamp Center in east Los Angeles.
“When I found out Russell was interested in computer literacy, I thought it was a great opportunity for us to get that up and running,” Butts said.
The lab already has 3-D printers, coding kits, and drones, the Green Tech program can expand on those resources to help youth who are involved. L.A. Conservation Corps gains 200 new corps members annually. They would all be receiving training on computer literacy and technology. The organization is in the works of developing the curriculum.
“Those who are interested in the field, we would offer an advanced drone piloting career path program, so really intensive classes,” Butts said. “And get those corps members ready to pass their drone operation license test.”
The L.A. conservation group has been around for over 30 years. In recent years, the organization adopted a Career Pathways program. It offers training in land management, construction, manufacturing, and other fields.
“I think for our corps members, so many of them are looking for opportunities that are a little untraditional,” Butts said. “They’re looking for opportunities to get jobs that’s using their hands”
Brownstein is a former board member of the L.A. Conservation Corps and is still a supporter of the organization.
“It’s an honor to work with Russell who has a track record of benefitting at risk youth,” he said. “This partnership is a wonderful opportunity to positively contribute to a city we love.”
Butts is happy to have a person who comes from a community that the L.A. Conservation Corps serves become a partner.
“It’s a natural partnership,” she said. “This is very natural because of Russell’s experiences and because of his passion for what he wants to do in the local community.”