The Flintridge Center last month announced the graduation of the 36th class of its Apprenticeship Preparation Program, which was the first class held under its new hybrid education model, created in June in response to the ongoing pandemic, the organization said.
The class of seven graduated on Sept. 10, according to the Flintridge Center. The APP provides information, skills, and experience in the construction trades for previously incarcerated or gang-affiliated workers, according to the center.
The previous class was cut short by several weeks as the pandemic struck, officials said.
“In June, as the pandemic continued and individuals needed opportunities more urgently than ever before, Flintridge Center staff resumed a hybridized model of the program with adjustments to preserve health of participants and staff,” the center said in a written statement.
At the time, the APP was one of the only programs of its type in operation amid the pandemic, the organization said.
“For participants, this presented an unprecedented opportunity to enter in-demand careers as union hiring has continued amidst the crisis,” the statement said.
In addition to in-person instruction, the class has participated in employment development, math tutoring, life skills, and virtual union site visits to get eyes on the construction, center officials said in an August update on the program. “The class also continues to enjoy outdoor physical fitness hikes with the group.”
Among the graduates was Reginald Beasley, who said he was laid off from his job at the Rose Bowl due to the pandemic.
“Since I’ve been in class, I’ve learned a lot. It’s given me a positive mind frame, and not wanting to go back to doing things I was doing that weren’t good,” he said. “The best thing about it is learning how I can better myself.”
After graduating, Beasley said he plans on joining the laborers’ union.
Flintridge Center commended the graduates for their accomplishments.
“Completing the APP curriculum while taking COVID-19 precautions is no small feat,” the statement said. “Our deepest thanks to our volunteers and partners who make this program possible.
More information on the Flintridge Center and the Apprenticeship Preparation Program can be found online at flintridge.org.