On Saturday, over 70 South L.A. participants came out to test their skills at a pop-up Carpenter boot camp, where they learned what it takes to start a successful career in the construction industry, and had the chance to land a job with one of the contractors scouting local talent for the Destination Crenshaw project.

The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (SWRCC) and their African American Task Force (AATF) organized the Destination Crenshaw Skills Camp in the parking lot of the Abundant Life Church in South L.A. to recruit talent for the upcoming Destination Crenshaw project. The 1.3 mile open-air museum has committed to hiring 50 percent of their workers from the South L.A. community, and Saturday, the carpenters showed how they’ll help this ambitious project achieve their goal.

Contractors, including reps from PCL, Swinerton, and PCI, attended the event to evaluate local talent. Three promising participants were signed to Union Contractors on site, with several more being offered a chance to join the Southwest Carpenters’ pre-apprentice program.

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson stopped by the skills camp to observe the future construction professionals who will build South L.A.’s monument to Black Renaissance. “I came to see how the AATF is putting this program together, and I’ve just been so impressed,” said President Wesson. “What’s happening here is these guys are opening doors and affording these young people an opportunity to get something for themselves and live positive lives.” Wesson continued, “Destination Crenshaw is going to be amazing. I think that we need to make sure that members from the community are working on that project. This is one of the ways of insuring that occurs.”

Corey Crockerham, Chair of the AATF, served as a community liaison leading up to Saturday’s skills camp. “We can teach these guys how to swing a hammer and read a tape,” said Crockerham. “That gets them on the job, but today is special because we can show them the kind of attitude and work ethic it takes, not only to get hired on Destination Crenshaw, but also to be recruited for the next one.”

After the overwhelmingly positive response to the Destination Crenshaw Skills Camp, the Southwest Carpenters and the African American Task Force will look to repeat their success with another skills camp in the Inland Empire in August, where they’ll be partnering with YouthBuild Inland Empire to scout and recruit talent to work on the San Bernardino Airport.