Urban League Construction Job Training Saturday

Los Angeles is experiencing a construction boom not seen since the post war days, when enormous swaths of its landscape were razed to make way for freeways. Today, there are 12 rail lines, 15 highway projects and 2,000 bus lines either in the planning stages or under development that hopefully will ease congestion and pollution in Los Angeles County.

These rail lines not only will transport people, they also will serve as economic engines, bringing thousands of jobs to the region. But working in construction takes skills and that is where the Los Angeles Urban League’s Construction Careers Information Center comes into play.

The Careers Information Center will offer advice, guidance, skill development and services to anyone seeking employment in the construction industry.  There will also be opportunities to meet with the construction companies and builders that will be hiring.

The kickoff event begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Macy’s Bridge. There will be presentations every hour as well as information booths from Los Angeles’ Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors, Los Angeles World Airports, the Los Angeles/Orange County Building & Construction Trades Council, Turner Construction, Balfour Beatty Construction, LAUSD/We Build, The City of Los Angeles, PV Jobs and many others.

“Public spending in Los Angeles is about to reach historic levels,” said Nolan Rollins, chief executive of the Los Angeles Urban League. “If we are to ensure the economic stability of our great city we must be intentional about putting our people to work on our projects.”

The Crenshaw-to-LAX rail line alone, which is scheduled to begin construction this year, will span 8.5 miles from South Los Angeles to the airport. The $2 billion-project is projected to be a powerful economic catalyst for the Crenshaw corridor, attracting investment and business development once the Crenshaw line is built.

“This is an opportunity that cannot be missed,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “These jobs have longevity, benefits and possibilities for future employment. I look forward to seeing many Los Angeles residents working on the front lines of these exciting new construction projects.”

More Job Opportunities for Black Workers

Hundreds turned out at Leimert Park for a “ready to work” rally demanding more job opportunities with the upcoming construction of the $2-billion rail line along the Crenshaw Boulevard corridor and other Metro projects planned in the near future.

At the rally, sponsored by UCLA’s Black Worker Center, speakers and attendees called for improving access to training and education programs that can facilitate employment for African-Americans. Black workers have long been underrepresented in the building trades and African-American unemployment rates are roughly twice the national average.

Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas was on hand to support those efforts and to discuss the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Project Labor Agreement and the Construction Careers Policy which were launched in 2009 and created the policy for local workers in high unemployment neighborhoods to be hired.

Chairman Ridley-Thomas told the crowd that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its contractors have agreed on hiring mandates meant to bring well-paying work to neighborhoods those along the Crenshaw corridor for the construction of the 8.5-mile line connecting the Expo Line and the Green Line to LAX.

Under the agreement, 40 percent of work hours on the railway must be performed by employees from economically depressed areas. There are also special provisions for trainees and the “disadvantaged” workers — a group that includes veterans, the homeless, chronically unemployed and applicants with criminal records.

“This is economic justice in real time,” said Ridley-Thomas, who serves on Metro’s board and was one of the most forceful proponents of the agreement. “I have a fundamental and passionate belief in the transformative value of a job. When it leads to a career that pays a livable wage, families are strengthened and neighborhoods are reinforced, communities are built and people aspire to achieve all that they can.”

Click here to read the Los Angeles Times article.

Spring into Summer hiring spree

Job seekers turned out in full force for the second annual Spring into Summer Hiring Spree Job Fair held recently inside the gym at Victoria Community Regional Park in Carson.

For three hours, over 2,000 attendees spoke with more than 70 employers from government, private sector, and non-profit agencies.

“This is another great opportunity for the community,” said Richard De La Torre, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education Communications Department. “We’re here to hopefully get people jump started into a job and maybe a career.”  Larry Jointer, who waited with hundreds of others to enter the gym, said he was a bit pessimistic about attending his first job fair and daunted by the numbers of people also seeking work.

“I’m not a fan of crowds,” Jointer said. “I usually apply for jobs online or physically go to the job site where I’m seeking employment, but when I arrived here around 9 a.m. the line wasn’t bad.”

Jointer, who has experience in retail, packing, shipping, and receiving, went on to say that overall the experience was positive: the event was well organized and the people who helped him register were friendly.

First time job fair attendee, Dominic Jackson, 23, shared Jointer’s sentiment. He added, however, that he had hoped a personal impression would help him secure a job and was dismayed that many employers instructed him to go online and fill out an application.

“I thought employers were hiring on the spot,” Jackson said. “but I’m happy that I’ve made contacts today that I can follow up with after I submit my application online. “I love people trying to help people,” he continued.

To make sure job seekers looked and felt their best, students from Beyond 21st Century Beauty Academy, a beauty school in Santa Fe Springs, California, and Jelon Reliford, the owner of Jelon Architect, a barbershop in Carson were on hand to give attendees free manicures and hair styles.

“When people look good they feel better,” said barber Jelon Reliford, who was offering free hair cuts “When people are looking for a job, they can be discouraged. I wanted to do something that would help them on their way.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas hosts second annual Hiring Spree in Second District

If you are currently looking for a job, want to make connections with employers, or simply want advice on resume writing, networking and interview strategies, you won’t want to miss the Second Annual Spring into Summer Hiring Spree, from 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, May 23 at Victoria Community Regional Park in Carson.

The Spring Into Summer job fair is a major recruiting event that provides an opportunity for job seekers to meet with hiring managers from a wide range of employers, including private-sector companies, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Last year, 1,100 job seekers came out to the event, and this year will likely see the same kind of enthusiasm as 60 employers are scheduled to attend.

Participating employers include: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, United States Custom & Border Protection, AccentCare, Vons Company, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Health Care, Los Angeles County Department of Registrar, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles World Airport (LAWA), California Department of Rehabilitation, and Prudential Insurance Company to name a few. The event is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), Los Angeles County Department of Social Services (DPSS), Los Angeles County Department of Recreation and Parks, El Camino College Compton Center, Compton Community Worksource Center, City of Carson Career Center, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Second District.

Victoria Park is located at 419 E. 192nd Street in Carson. Admission to the fair is free.

Click here for more information.

JOB FAIR – 2012 Flyer (English)
JOB FAIR – 2012 Flyer (Spanish)

Constructing a new future

On the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, hosted an appreciation luncheon at the construction site of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital for the men and women who are building the new 194,000-square-foot hospital — a hands on dedication to keeping the legendary civil right’s leader’s dream of equal opportunity alive.

“We recognize you for all the work you do each day to build a new hospital that is built on time and on budget,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, before a crowd of more than 400 construction workers. “We are delighted to honor your contributions to this important project.

“Today we celebrate the progress being made and look forward to an extraordinary future,” he continued.

From pipefitters to electricians, workers of all trades took off their hard-hats for an hour to chat with colleagues, eat grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, and apple pie prepared by Earlez Grille, and hear gratitude expressed by representatives from the County of Los Angeles and the MLK Healthcare Corporation, board of directors.

“You are changing the lives of those who live in this community,” said Chief Executive Officer William T. “Bill” Fujioka. “Thank you for what you do.”

The same sentiment of was shared by Healthcare Corporation board Chairman Manny Abascal , who reiterated that the workers are making a profound investment into the community and building the foundation for a quality facility.

Of particular note throughout the day was the significant presence of workers who also are residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. Several said that building a hospital in their own community was a source of tremendous pride for them. Their participation, many pointed out, was not by accident. County employment policies enacted two years ago were essential to providing job opportunities for them with regard to the hospital’s construction.

In October 2010, the Board of Supervisors established a local working hiring policy for the MLK Medical Center campus. The policy requires that 30% of the total construction hours be reserved for workers who live within a five – mile radius and/or reside in zip codes experiencing 150% of the County’s average rate of unemployment. The investments on the campus are projected to create nearly 2,100 direct construction jobs for the community. To date, the MLK Inpatient Tower project has succeeded in hiring 38% of its employees from within a five mile radius and 31% of its employees from those zip codes experiencing higher rates of unemployment. When the MLK Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center begins construction, it will be governed by an unprecedented project labor agreement to ensure compliance with the local hiring policy.

The new Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital

Forty years after the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Hospital initially opened its doors the MLK Medical Center is experiencing a renaissance. A new state-of-the-art , independently governed hospital is being developed to replace the old Los Angeles County-run facility. Steady progress is being made in an effort to transform the MLK Medical Center campus into a center of excellence for health care delivery, a medical home for the underserved, urban health promotion, health workforce development, research and teaching, and economic development. The County of Los Angeles has earmarked nearly $400 million in public funds to promote quality health and wellness services on the Watts-Willowbrook campus.

Since the closure of MLK-Harbor Hospital in August 2007, the County has been diligently working to restore inpatient services at the MLK site. In 2009, the County of Los Angeles partnered with the University of California to form a new non-profit corporation with its own independent governing board to open and operate the 120-bed MLK Hospital. This innovative public-private partnership will leverage the County’s resources, the University of California’s medical expertise and the leadership of an independent governing board to deliver high quality services in the new facility. Construction of the inpatient tower is scheduled to be substantially completed in March of 2013.