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HACLA Celebrates Career Expansion Graduation

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA)’s Watts/Los Angeles WorkSource Center hosted the graduation for the first class of 16 Los Angeles Reconnections Career Academy (LARCA) 2.0 and 3 other reentry participants to complete the Multi-Craft Core (MC3) construction training conducted by Career Expansion, Inc. in the Jordan Downs Community Center. 

LARCA is a City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) program that is funded by the Rodriguez vs. City of Los Angeles settlement, which brings job and work-readiness training to former gang members from certain geographic areas. Representatives from the City of Los Angeles, City Attorney’s Office, Jordan Downs Forward construction partners, and HACLA attended the graduation celebration as LARCA clients of Watts/Los Angeles WorkSource Center received their graduation certificates and Amazon Fire tablets.

“Many of you were deemed ineligible for housing and other services as a result of the gang injunctions and for a long time, we were unable to serve people with felonies. Today is representative of the changing tide that is occurring in our system. The preparation you received through the WorkSource Center and Career Expansion is going to set you on a course for many opportunities.” said Doug Guthrie, HACLA President & CEO. In his speech addressing the graduated, Mr. Guthrie emphasized the importance of preparing LARCA clients for high-demand career pathways, particularly as Watts undergoes various reutilization initiatives, including Jordan Downs Forward and the $33 million Watts Rising Transformative Climate Communities coalition spearheaded by HACLA.

During their 125 hours of instruction by Career Expansion at Jordan Downs, LARCA students took courses in Orientation and Industry Awareness, Blue Print Reading, Heritage of the American Worker, Diversity & Sexual Harassment, Hands-on Construction Material Handling/Measuring/Hand Power Tools, Safety Attendant Training, Respiratory Protection, Lead/Asbestos Awareness, and Scaffold Safety.  In a period of three and a half weeks,  30 hours of on-site classes were devoted to Construction Site Safety leading toward certifications in OSHA 30, First/Aid/CPR/AED (automated external defibrillator), OSHA 7405 Fall Hazard Awareness, and OSHA 7300 Confined Space Standards.

The event also featured a rousing speech by Pamela Paige, Workforce Development & Section 3 Manager, who has helped elevate HACLA’s WorkSource Center to No. 1 among City WorkSource Centers in recruiting and training LARCA and other reentry clients. At the podium, Jason Vogel, CEO of Career Expansion, expressed pride in the resolve demonstrated by students like Vanquan Knott, LARCA participant, who seeks support for a music studio business that will train South Los Angeles youth in the arts.

Career Expansion is already working to place eligible program graduates with Jordan Downs Forward contractors. Those students who live outside of South Los Angeles have been referred for careers at oil refineries and other major construction projects, such as the NFL stadium in Inglewood and LAX People Mover. 

To learn more about Career Expansion click here: https://www.careerexpansion.net/ 

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