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EMT Program Inspires Young Women to Improve their Lives by Saving Others

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas recognizes the first female cohort of the Los Angeles Emergency Medical Technician pilot program during the February 12, 2019 board meeting. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas honored the first all-female and the final cohort of the intensive five-monthLos Angeles Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) pilot program designed to introduce young adults to sustainable career pathways in the public safety and health sectors.

“It wasn’t easy, but you persisted. You’ve achieved this milestone and you are one step closer to your ultimate dream career goal,” he told them. “No matter your selected path, rest assured the demand for professionals in the health and public safety industries are already high and projected to continue growing over the next decade.”

The earn and learn program provides career-technical education, life coaching and leadership development, and job placement assistance, mentoring, and integrated supportive services.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby shares remarks at the board meeting. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

“The motto of the LA County Fire Department is Proud Protectors of Life and Property and we have found people who had a need to be mentored and to be developed,” said LA County Fire Chief Daryl Osby. “I saw these young ladies five months ago and to see their growth is just amazing.”

Graduates are guaranteed employment after successfully completing the program. Working as an EMT can lead to careers as nurses, physician assistants, firefighters and doctors.

“For me personally, this class was definitely a second chance,” said Zayana Ross-Torrance, one of the new graduates. “I am grateful for programs like this that let some of us take our first steps into the medical field and I’m glad to have these ladies continue on this journey with me.”

LA EMT Program participant speaks to the Board of Supervisors. Photo by Diandra Jay / Board of Supervisors

LA EMT Program partners include the Workers Education and Resource Center, Central Baptist Church, the Los Angeles County Stentorians, and McCormick Ambulance.

The success of this model was identified in the County’s Preparing Los Angeles for County Employment, or PLACE program, as a pipeline for training potential future firefighters.

“This program goes back to 8 years ago when I was appointed and wanted to do things in the community to make a significant difference,” said Chief Osby. “We have maintained this commitment and this is the fruit of our labor.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are unrepresented as firefighters and the percentage of women firefighters in the County and City of LA is slightly below the national average at 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

More than 70 young adults have participated in the program since it launched its first cohort in May 2017.

Aiming High and Saving Lives

Photo by Diandra Jay, Board of Supervisors

After five months of intensive classroom and in-the-field training, it’s graduation day for the first class of EMT LA students. The program is a partnership between the Office of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas and the Workers Education and Resource Center with funding support from the California Endowment.

“This pilot program is a win-win. Our young men of color deserve access to the best opportunities,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “And our communities deserve first rate emergency medical technicians.”

On the heels of a successful recent program in Alameda County, 21 young men from Los Angeles County’s Second District and their accountability partners, made up of parents, friends or significant others, participated in the orientation and kickoff at Central Baptist Church in Carson. Representatives from the Los Angeles County Departments of Children and Family Services, Probation, and Fire were on hand to provide words of wisdom and to participate in the launch of the program.

“In my neighborhood, my friends don’t know it’s possible to become a fire-fighter,” said Renard Page, a program participant.

The five month intensive program included technical skill development, life skill building and culminated with EMT certification. The young men selected through a rigorous application process earned a training stipend of $1,200 per month.

“The goal is to invest in young men so the return can be paid back to this community,” said Kenneth Lee from the LA County Fire Department.

The graduation was marked by a joyful celebration with family and friends and reflections from the graduates.

“This program changed the way we respond to people,” said Renard Page.

“As hard as you worked to get here, you have to continue to get to where you’re going and once you get there to stay,” said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby during the graduation ceremony.

This group is the first of three groups that will participate in the pilot program in Los Angeles County’s Second District over the next two years.

“It’s important for this program to continue because it shows there’s hope,” said Raul Cuellar, the valedictorian of the first graduating class.

Tech Extravaganza Inspires Youngsters

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas welcomed more than 100 middle and high schoolers from across Los Angeles County to the Microsoft YouthSpark DigiCamp Extravaganza, to encourage them to consider careers in technology.

img_2699“You are the next generation of inventors, scientists, and developers,” he told the enthusiastic youngsters, including students of Lou Dantzler Preparatory Charter High School. “I look forward to seeing how your ideas and your creativity will contribute to bettering the communities and the world in which we live.”

Microsoft organized the two-day bootcamp, held in Microsoft Square at L.A. Live, as part of a series of programs to benefit the community. The event featured hands-on breakout sessions and a hackathon in which students were given the opportunity to code.

img_2696“I’m hoping these kids can learn about technology and be young spark plugs for the future!” said Forest Riley, assistant teen development coordinator for the Watts/Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club, who said opportunities for applying new technology abound at the neighboring Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital.

Microsoft organized the event in partnership with the Brotherhood Crusade, Center for Digital Inclusion, Challengers Boys & Girls Club, Sunburst Youth Academy National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, Titus Single Parent Mentoring, and Watts/Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has previously reached out to young boys and girls of color to bridge the digital divide, encouraging them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. In October 2015, he hosted the County’s first hack day at Lennox Library, in which technology giants Microsoft, IDEO, CGI and NeoGov led workshops for about 100 youth ages 16-25 on such topics as turning an idea into a product, developing software applications, and launching a career in Information Technology. Students were able to create their own apps and share their innovations with one another.

In March 2016, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas spoke at a DigiGirlz Day event, co-sponsored with Girls Build LA, that urged middle and high school girls to identify a problem in their communities and engineer a plan to solve it. Students from Grace Hopper STEM Academy in Inglewood and Orville Wright Middle School STEAM Magnet in Westchester were among those who participated.

 

Exposition Park Welcomes New Soccer Stadium

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Los Angeles County and City officials along with owners of the Los Angeles Football Club joined together with a few hundred soccer fans to break ground on a new stadium in Exposition Park. Designed by LA-based architectural firm Gensler, the new soccer-specific facility named Banc of California Stadium will be built on the site of the former Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena accommodating 22,000 fans and LA’s newest soccer franchise.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAFC owners including Los Angeles legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, actor and comedian Will Ferrell, inspirational life coach and entrepreneur Tony Robbins, entertainment and sports legend Peter Guber, business leader and LAFC Lead Managing Owner Larry Berg, Co-Managing Owners Bennett Rosenthal and Brandon Beck, and LAFC President Tom Penn, in celebrating the historic groundbreaking.

“The stadium project represents a tremendous investment in South Los Angeles, providing a major league boost to our economy,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

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IMG_0456The new development will bring more than $350 million in private investment to South Los Angeles including a commitment to 40 percent local hires and 35 percent minority business. The development will include a large public plaza, restaurants, retail store, and a conference and events center, serving as a sports, entertainment, civic, and cultural landmark for Los Angeles.

“We start here,” said Larry Berg, LAFC Lead Managing Owner. “After years of planning and hard work we are set to make history here in the heart of the city.”

“This world-class stadium,” said Peter Guber LAFC Executive Chairman and Owner, “Will be a state of the art venue featuring ‘state of the heart’ experiences for players, fans and artists.”

“Los Angeles is the sports and entertainment capital of the world, and today we open a new chapter in our rich history with the world’s most popular game,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“It has always been important for me to invest in projects that create and support jobs in communities that are often overlooked, especially here in Los Angeles. The shovels in the ground today mean real dollars are now flowing into this community, benefitting thousands of people,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

“So I say to the LAFC, Welcome to Expo Park… Now let’s get to work!” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

The new major league soccer team is expected to begin play in 2018 at the new stadium.