ELAC opens first job center on campus

America’s Job Center of California offers students opportunities and career paths

Cut the ribbon—Luna Perez, an ELAC student, cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the America’s Job Center of California. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor, and Raul Rodrigues, ELAC interim president were also present. CN/ Gustavo Buenrostro

By Gustavo Buenrostro

The first job center on campus is available for students and the community as a collaborative effort between East Los Angeles College and Los Angeles County.

“When students walk through those doors, it’s not just to help with preparing them, but to plant the seeds of possibility. For students to say ‘I can do this,’” District Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez said.

The center is called America’s Job Center of California.

Andra Hoffman, president of the Board of Trustees, said the center is unique because its sole purpose is helping provide employment and training opportunities for ELAC students.

Leo Medina, associate professor at ELAC and host of the event, said the center is going to help prepare local talent for careers in the 21st century. 

The AJCC has multiple programs for students facing various  circumstances in life.

There is a program called the Countywide Youth Bridges Program that provides internship opportunities that can one day lead to employment.

The programs are meant to provide training for students and the county has committed to helping with the placement.

“Job centers like this work. I am a living testimony to that,” Medina said.

The center has three levels of services. The first level is work-based learning, where they have supportive services like transportation assistance.

It also has paid work experiences and personal enrichment training.

The second level is academic and career development which includes the services provided by the first level as well as workshops, career planning, paid and unpaid work experience as well as other additional services like mentoring and counseling services. 

The third level is advanced career services and can build on the other two levels or stand alone.

This level provides additional training as well as transitional jobs. 

Each level has outcomes that determine work readiness, post-secondary education, advanced training and permanent unsubsidized employment.

Vice President of Workforce Education  Armida Ornelas said that the AJCC has its own dedicated faculty and staff.

She said that there are plans to have an AJCC in the South Gate campus as well.

She said that before, they would look at students at different moments of their college life.

With the AJCC, they will now look at students’ college lives as a whole, providing support where they need it.

Medina introduced Luna Perez, a first-year college student, who spoke about her success story.

Perez said that in 2015, she went to the Mexican border with her younger brother.

A border agent separated her from her brother and sent them to the “freezer,” a detention center for teenagers.

She said all she could think about while she was there was her brother. She came to the United States and started high school.

She said she had a lot of help from the job center.

In December of 2016, she was reunited with her mother, who was already in the U.S., and eventually reunited with her brother as well.

She started coming to ELAC this semester and is taking workshops where she will eventually be placed on the engineering path.

“I hope that my story inspires others with similar situations,” Perez said.

The Lions Pride Kung Fu, a dance school that specializes in martial arts and lion dance performed at the beginning of the event.

During and after the opening of the AJCC, a workforce resource fair was available to students to get information on any of the workforce-related classes.

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