Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti attended the grand opening of the Workforce Strategy Center welcoming all Angelenos to gain fulfilling employment opportunities.
By Jamie Garcia, Staff Writer & Lon Dominguez, News Editor
Crowds gathered Friday on the first floor of the Administration & Career Advancement Building to celebrate The City of Los Angeles Workforce Strategy Center’s grand opening attended by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who cut the ribbon at the ceremony and welcomed Angelenos.
“We need to provide the next generation with access to training and other support services to fulfill their potential in the workplace,” says Garcetti, “That’s what our first Workforce Strategy Center will do.”
In addition to Mayor Garcetti other prominent community members were also in attendance to praise the opening of the center included Valley President Erika Endrijonas, California Chancellor of Community Colleges Eloy Oakley, LACCD Board of Trustees President Sydney Kamlager, as well as L.A. city councilmembers Paul Krekorian and Monica Rodriguez.
The speakers also took the opportunity to make subtle jabs at President Donald Trump’s immigration stance.
In referring to immigrant applicants, Chancellor Oakley said, “We are going to dedicate every single ounce of effort to protecting you, to ensure that you are welcomed, that there is nothing that goes on Washington D.C. that will prevent you from the opportunities that you deserve.”
The Workforce Strategy Center is the only place in the Los Angeles area that is in partnership with the entire LA Workforce department. The center’s doors are opened to anyone who is seeking employment and offers four free programs as a quick path to a professional career.
The programs offered are the Metro Bridge Academy, Biotech Academy, Manufacturing Academy and LA Fellows. Each one offers short term training in the field that the student is pursuing. After completion of the training, the participants are offered an interview with one of the employers for job placement in the field.
The Metro Bridge program is opened to individuals who are interested in becoming bus operators. The training lasts four weeks and participants receive hands-on experience behind the wheel of a bus on campus. Every participant that completes the training is guaranteed an interview and about 71% of the participants are hired.
“I went through the Bridge Program, now I’m a full-time bus operator and I have a better quality of life,” said Muhammad Ahmad, who has been with Metro for 2 years. “I see a lot of people who value education in this program and I see the program growing in all directions.”
The Manufacturing Academy gives hands-on experience to students in operating computerized machinery to fill a growing labor shortage of skilled machinists. The program has even been featured on CNN’s Your Money which can be seen on YouTube.
“The goal at the center is training to job placement,” says Dr. Douglas Marlot, Dean of Adult Community Education and Workforce Development, who was a major force in its implementation on campus.
“LAVC is proud to be the first and only community college to work with the entire City of Los Angeles Workforce Development system to develop employer-driven programs that lead to meaningful employment,” said Endrijonas, “our highly successful career academies have a job placement rate of 86 percent or higher.”
The Biotech Bridge Training program trains students to work in the biomedical field and seek employment with several local healthcare companies.
On such graduate of the Biotech academy is Seddie McKenzie, who is currently employed by Grifols Biologicals and working on her master’s in biotechnology.
“After the Biotech Academy I found myself to not only being employed in the industry that I’ve obtained so much passion for but I’ve also gained a lot knowledge,” said Mckenzie.
The Workforce Strategy Center is not only encouraging Angelenos to gain employment but also continue their education. College credit has been added to all the training programs that are offered at the center. For more information on these programs visit www.lavcjobtraining.org.
On the future of the center Marlott said, “There’s an opportunity to expand the work of both Workforce and Adult Education through this center.”