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Manufacturing Academies at Los Angeles Valley College

Valley Glen - - The Los Angeles Valley College Job Training program provides a variety of training for both displaced and incumbent workers. The Urban Manufacturing Initiative (UMI) Academy is one that works specifically with local manufacturing firms, their employees, and job seekers

Funded by the City of Los Angeles and administered by the Southeast LA-Crenshaw WorkSource Center, the UMI Academy is aimed at displaced/dislocated workers looking to upgrade their skills and re-enter the workforce. Classes in machining skills, blueprint reading, shop safety, math, computer applications, and employability skills are part of the four-week, 120-hour program. Since September 2010, the Job Training staff has assisted over 85 out-of- work individuals with training, as well as over 35 incumbent workers from the manufacturing sector, including companies such as Industrial Metal Supply, W Machine Works and Riggins Engineering.

One of the important aspects of the Academy is how it serves as a springboard to motivate and encourage unemployed individuals to return to the job market via skills acquisition. For over 15 years, Job Training has provided bridge type training programs to assist folks with getting the edge they needed to find a new place of employment. Since 2006, more than 250 individuals have attended manufacturing academy programs at LAVC.

After responding to an advertisement on Craigslist, Joel Becerra found himself at Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) for the first time. Mr. Becerra, a former lead technician with a large manufacturing company in Chatsworth, had been unemployed for over two years. Becerra successfully completed the training at LAVC and within two months found employment with WET (Water Entertainment Technologies), also known as WET Design, located in Sun Valley. WET designs and manufacturers orchestral water features and is best known for its nine-acre Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. After a two-year period of not begin able to find work, Becerra proudly boasts, “I am working like there is no tomorrow.” Becerra has learned new skills in the electronics assembly field. “With my previous employer, I was responsible for mechanical work, not so much on the electrical side. Here at WET, I have learned quite a bit.” He is especially pleased that he is keeping very busy at work with overtime. “I need to rebuild my savings after seeing it disappear while I was unemployed.”

The Urban Manufacturing Initiative Grant Program will end in June 2011, but Job Training has plans for future training programs funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The proposed LA AERO program will ensure that LAVC can continue its work with both dislocated and incumbent workers engaged in aerospace manufacturing within the San Fernando Valley and beyond.