Second Cohort of Formerly Incarcerated Graduated From Labor’s Second Chance Pre-Apprenticeship Bootcamp

05/31/2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Contacts: Gabriella Landeros, 323-406-3270, gabriella@thelafed.org
Cheryl Bonacci, 213-955-5885, cbonacci@antirecidivism.org

After 12-Week Program, Graduates Are Placed in Union Apprenticeships

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor graduated its second cohort class of 27 formerly incarcerated individuals from the Los Angeles Reentry Workforce Collaborative.

The Los Angeles Reentry Workforce Collaborative is a joint undertaking between four core partners: the LA Fed, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, and Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. Each partner plays a key role in the program. As a result, the Collaborative is uniquely positioned to help reduce recidivism by creating real and lasting career opportunities through union apprenticeships for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Union apprenticeships provide paid job training, good middle class wages and benefits, and clear pathways for career advancement. These apprenticeships are established based on agreements between labor and employers, and apprentices earn certifications, employment experience, and transferable skills.

Los Angeles is home to the largest formerly incarcerated population in California, with tens of thousands of individuals released in the County each year. There are many barriers to sustainable employment for those returning home from incarceration. Removing those barriers and supporting an individual’s opportunity for change are critical to ensuring safer communities.

“LA Trade Tech has a deep and important partnership with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, the LA County Federation of Labor and the Building Trades, which provides a real chance for life-changing careers among challenged populations. This construction apprentice preparation graduation is the culmination of important work entrusted to our LATTC Construction, Maintenance and Utilities faculty and staff to prepare individuals who have faced significant hurdles in the past. We are very proud to work together with our partners on this transformative work that can best happen when we work together,” said Larry Frank, President of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.

“I’m deeply indebted to my partners at the LA Fed and LA Trade Tech for enhancing public safety, giving hope and providing rehabilitation by creating guaranteed pathways into union careers for deserving men and women. And I’m deeply indebted to our graduates, who have withstood tremendous physical and intellectual challenges, while demonstrating great character and values over the last 12 weeks. Today we celebrate you,” said Scott Budnick, Founder and President of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition.

“We believe in second chances no matter your background, who you are, or where you come from. We all deserve an equal shot, and every shot should be accessible. Over the course of these long weeks, our graduates applied themselves to learning the skills needed to be successful in the Trades and what it means to be civically engaged. Now, they are not only on a path to a life-long career in a good-paying union job, but they are on a path to being leaders in their communities,” said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

“Here in Los Angeles County we believe in giving people a second chance to turn their lives around. Today we see the fruits of our labor come to fruition as 27 individuals receive a fresh start to a productive and successful lifestyle. I commend the workforce collaborative for spearheading this program and providing opportunities that will last a lifetime. Through rigorous training, discipline, and dedication, these graduates defied the odds and are crossing the finish line. I am proud to celebrate the second graduating class of the union apprenticeship program and look forward to their continued work in the County,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis.

“The Building Trades are proud to be part of this program,” said Ron Miller, Executive Secretary of the LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council. “We are seeing firsthand that these individuals bring a strong work ethic to the job. They’re adding value. Our door is open to them as they start a new chapter in their lives, and seek to make better lives for themselves.”

“The union training program has shown me that there are people and organizations that really care about making a difference in the lives of people who have been incarcerated. They are providing us with a real opportunity to change our lives for the better,” said Darren Sherman, second cohort graduate.

“I went looking for housing and a job because I didn’t want to go back to the same environment, and that’s when I heard about the Pre-Apprenticeship Bootcamp. The program has prepared me for my career in cement masonry and life in general. It has also taught me how to build healthy friendships, while becoming more responsible and disciplined. I learned the fundamentals and values of being a union member,” said Albert Corona, second cohort graduate.

###