LOS ANGELES — Surrounded by friends and family, 27 students of the HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program’s seventh cohort graduated Feb. 28, marking the successful completion of a transformative eight-week course that will prepare them for apprenticeships in the union construction trades.
The event was held at Los Angeles Southwest College and featured Justin Erbacci, interim chief executive officer of Los Angeles World Airports; Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees President Andra Hoffman, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary Ron Miller and Parsons Corporation President and COO Carey Smith.
Erbacci congratulated the class on its accomplishment and expressed his hope that many of them would soon begin working on LAX’s $14 billion modernization program.
“Over the past two and a half years, the HireLAX program provided training that enabled more than 130 graduates to earn an apprenticeship and begin their careers in the construction industry,” Erbacci said. “Today’s graduates are one step closer to joining an exclusive group of Angelenos who will be able to point to a transformed LAX and say, ‘I built that.’”
HireLAX is a partnership between Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles World Airports 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 through an eight-week course that trains participants in construction best practices, mathematics, physical education, Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards and other subjects. All participants are from the city of Los Angeles or the surrounding LAX area.
“Our HireLAX program is changing lives in positive ways by providing outstanding training and education at Los Angeles Southwest College that leads to well-paying jobs in the construction trades,” LACCD Board Hoffman said. “We are proud of our partnership with LAWA, construction firms and the LA/Orange County Building Trades who are all working together to make HireLAX so successful. Working together, we are breaking down barriers for women and people of color to enter into the construction industry.”
Now in its third year, the program has placed 137 of its nearly 200 graduates in jobs. The placement rate of graduates from the previous six cohorts is 79.66%, with a majority of them starting as union apprenticeship participants. The program marked its 100th graduate placement into a construction job last August with a placement of a worker on the Midfield Satellite Concourse project at LAX.
Miller, executive secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, also spoke at the ceremony.
“We are proud to join with [the airport] to bring our community members into the pipeline of good, lifetime careers,” he said. “I’m impressed by the hard work and dedication these graduates have shown. We look forward to welcoming them into our skilled Trades.”
Like the previous cohorts, the latest graduating class is diverse and inclusive of local community members who have faced challenges in their lives. Of the graduates of Cohort 7, 18.5% are female, 25.93% identify as African American, 51.85% identify as Hispanic or Latino, 3.7% identify as American Indian and 7.4% identify as other.
More than 40 % of the graduates had some form of prior involvement with the criminal justice system.
Contractors performing work on airport projects must meet or exceed 30% local participation with a workforce that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles.
Wave Staff Report