Education Local News West Edition

Airport graduates fifth apprenticeship class

LOS ANGELES — Family and friends of graduates from the fifth HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program’s (ARP) class gathered June 14 at Los Angeles Southwest College to celebrate the completion of an eight-week apprenticeship readiness curriculum. 

The 29 graduates, all of whom live in the city of Los Angeles or areas closely surrounding LAX, are now ready to pursue apprenticeships in the construction trades, which will allow them to be hired onto projects at Los Angeles International Airport. 

In a video message played at the graduation ceremony, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shared, “On behalf of the city of Los Angeles, it is my privilege to celebrate the graduates of the fifth HireLAX class. We are so proud of all that you have accomplished. I want you to know that L.A. is going to continue to stand by you, and work with you to ensure that you are met with opportunities and not obstacles. 

“From the new Midfield Satellite Concourse to the upcoming Automated People Mover train, you are helping to build an even stronger Los Angeles, and a better airport — an enduring gift that will be with us for generations to come. Los Angeles is going places, and you are helping us get there.”

HireLAX is a partnership between Los Angeles World Airports, L.A. Southwest College and the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council. The workforce development program prepares local residents for skilled craft labor careers to support the multibillion-dollar capital improvement program at LAX. 

“During the HireLAX program, these students showed that they have what it takes to be successful in a career in construction, impressing our instructors with their drive, perseverance and commitment to excellence,” said Samson Mengistu, chief operating officer for the airport. “As we invest billions of dollars in the modernization and transformation of Los Angeles International Airport, we are proud to say that local workers are helping build the future of Los Angeles and our airport.”

To date, 108 students have graduated from the Hire LAX program. From the first four cohorts, 79 graduates, or 70 percent of the students, have accepted apprenticeships. Additionally, more than one-third of the most recent graduates have already received employment offers from airport contractors. 

“Los Angeles Southwest College is honored to again instruct the next HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program cohort on our campus,” said college President Seher Awan. “With so many substantial building projects in Los Angeles, we believe our local community members should benefit from the opportunity to work on these construction sites. The HireLAX training will ensure that those committed to this program will be best prepared for these life-changing opportunities.”

Contractors performing work on airport projects must meet or exceed 30 percent local participation with a workforce that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles. The HireLAX program trains local residents to earn these jobs. Under the HireLAX framework, program graduates will be connected with union apprenticeship programs and contractors, so they can begin their construction careers at LAX. 

The HireLAX program was developed within the framework of the airport’s Project Labor Agreement, which is a partnership between the airport, its contractors and the local construction unions. The agreement requires contractors and unions to refer local workers to the project and to conduct outreach to persons who have not previously qualified to be employed on construction projects, especially minorities and women. A substantial proportion of students who participate in the HireLAX program have experienced hardship, including homelessness or involvement with the criminal justice system.

The next HireLAX class is scheduled to begin July 8. Registrants must attend a mandatory orientation and interview, which is scheduled for 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 22, at the Little Theater at Southwest College. 

For more information, contact Christina Watkins at (424) 646-7192.

Wave Staff Report