REGION : Job Training Class Aimed at Youths

A free government-sponsored training program has opened to help young adults get technical jobs that pay higher than minimum wage.

“Fast Track L.A.,” an intensive eight-week program housed at 2671 Zoe Ave. next to the Southeast branch of East Los Angeles College, is designed to provide 15 people with skills needed to enter the work force. The program is aimed at people age 18 to 23.

“We will try to produce self-directed learners who can understand what they need to be to qualify for a job--not just a minimum wage job ($4.25 an hour), but a job ,” said Barry Stern, director of the program and a former adult- and vocational-education official with the U. S. Department of Education.

Graduates with above-average scores are guaranteed jobs with wages of at least $7 an hour, Stern said. Companies that have shown interest in the program include Mobil Oil, Pennzoil, Rockwell International and Chief Auto Parts.


Most of the skills that will be taught at Fast Track are for entry-level positions in technical fields. The eight-hour-a-day program includes classes in word processing and other basic computer functions. Instruction on improving oral and written communication also will be offered. Participants also will learn how to write resumes and apply for college or post-secondary education programs.

Applicants must have an equivalent of a high school diploma. Participants will be screened for drug use. Students who do not qualify will be referred to local adult-education classes or literacy training courses, Stern said.

Sponsored by Assemblywoman Martha Escutia (D-Huntington Park), Fast Track is funded through a federal grant of $1 million in defense-conversion job training funds.

“This program is not sink or swim,” said Stern. “It helps people swim.”


Deadline to submit applications is Feb. 16; the program begins Feb. 21.

Information: (213) 589-5141.