By Vicky Nguyen
For youth in juvenile rehabilitation camps, finding work upon release can be a daunting task. To address this issue, East Los Angeles College has been working with the Los Angeles County Probation and United Postal Service to provide youth with job opportunities in the logistics industry after discharge.
The creation of the 10-week, three-course program was led by ELAC logistics professor Leonardo Medina.
Initially offering one course last fall to Camp Afflerbaugh, a rehabilitation center in La Verne, the program has now been expanded to three leadership courses. The program has turned out to be a total of eight students who have been hired to UPS after the completion of the program.
Medina developed the program to meet the demands of the logistics industry, the second-fastest growing industry in the country. Specifically, he wanted to focus on giving students in the program soft skills in addition to technical skills.
“Time and time again, the greatest skill that is lacking in the industry is leadership,” said Medina. “They (schools) teach young people how to take tests and quizzes and papers and all this wonderful stuff. But in the end they’re realizing they’re coming out pretty smart, but they need to learn how to take initiative, how to be self-starters.”
The partnership with UPS ensures students are being trained with the necessary skill set to work for UPS and provides an opportunity for employment.
“To have an opportunity to earn work experience upon release is an important component and a huge selling point for young people in the program,” said LA County Probation Senior Director of Education Services Jesus Corral. “It’s one thing to talk about something. This program has the education pieces and it connects the employer as well,” said Corral.
With the success of the program so far, is set to expand to another campus, Camp Dorothy Kirby in Commerce starting Oct 21.
“Nobody says that their goal is to make it to adult prison. There’s goals to provide for (them), and I think a program like this offers them a hope for a better tomorrow,” said Corral.
The program received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.