MID-CITY : U.S. to Fund Job-Training Program for Youths

Young people in three Mid-City areas will be the beneficiaries of a job training and apprenticeship program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Los Angeles is one of 16 U.S. cities selected to participate in the Youth Fair Chance program to begin this fall. The city will receive $3 million over the next 18 months, plus an additional $1 million annually for three more years if the program is successful.

The city's application was initiated by Councilman Mike Hernandez. The program targets residents 14 to 30 years old and living in portions of the Pico-Union, Westlake and Temple-Beaudry neighborhoods. The application cited high rates of crime, poverty, teen pregnancy and high school dropouts in the three communities.

"There was no doubt that on a national scale these communities are unique in many ways," Hernandez said. "The federal government recognized that and agreed that we needed this funding.

"I think that people are just beginning to understand that if you focus resources where they are most needed, and then you change those needs, then you can change entire communities," Hernandez said.

The city's Community Development agency will begin compiling a waiting list of interested applicants this month. Those chosen will participate in job training, school-to-work transition programs and apprenticeship activities. Participants will also help rehabilitate housing.

Program organizers hope to serve about 1,000 youths over a four-year period, said Tony Perez, press deputy for Hernandez.

Participating agencies include the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, RLA, Ketchum Downtown YMCA, the Carpenters Union and Belmont High School. Information: (213) 485-6520.

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