Residents who want to work at the new South Bay Galleria shopping mall will receive a boost from the city, which will spend $49,860 to train about 1,800 people seeking jobs as clerks, custodians, secretaries and warehouse workers.

The mall--slated to open in the summer--must give preference to qualified Lawndale residents in filling 600 jobs under terms of an $8-million loan the city made to the developer utilizing federal Urban Development Action Grant funds.

In a series of one-day sessions beginning in February, job seekers will receive tips on grooming, how to fill out applications and how to conduct themselves in interviews. There will also be instruction in retail selling skills.

The staff said mall retailers want personable, skilled people, and the intent of the training is "to increase the number of Lawndale residents hired" and give people "a valuable lifetime skill" to find employment anywhere. The city will pay a Torrance firm to advertise the availability of jobs, screen applicants, set up interviews and coordinate training.

Nordstrom and Mervyn's department stores hope to open by early April, and the rest of the mall--at Hawthorne and Artesia boulevards--will open in August, according to the city.

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