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How a Pasadena Program Helps Formerly Incarcerated People Find Careers in Construction

Published on Saturday, March 2, 2024 | 6:24 am

For many people who have been incarcerated or involved in gangs, finding a stable and rewarding career can seem like an impossible dream. They face discrimination, stigma, and lack of opportunities. They often return to the same environment that led them to trouble in the first place.

But Pasadena nonprofit Flintridge Center offers them a chance to change their destiny.

It comes in the form of the Apprenticeship Preparation Program (APP), and it prepares them for careers in union construction trades, a field that offers high wages, benefits, and advancement.

The APP is a 10-week intensive course that combines workforce development with trauma-informed care. It teaches participants the skills, knowledge, and attitude they need to succeed in the construction industry. It also provides them with support services, such as counseling, mentoring, and job placement assistance.

The APP is run by the Flintridge Center, a nonprofit organization that aims to break the cycle of poverty and violence in the Pasadena and Altadena areas. The program has been operating since 2006 and has graduated hundreds of formerly incarcerated and gang-impacted individuals. The program has a 90% graduation rate, a 75% placement rate, and a 10% recidivism rate.

The current class, the APP’s 46th, has completed the initial three weeks of the 10-week program, and members are already experiencing transformative changes in their lives.

“It’s been great – helpful, informative, and very inspiring. I’ve learned there are many opportunities that I’m really capable of taking,” said current student Michael C.

Another student, Michael R., said he found the class to be very educational.

“It’s very motivating to be in an environment where we all want the same thing,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to get into construction so it’s been very helpful.”

A program highlight occurred on Day 15 when the Red Wing Boots truck arrived, and students were allowed to select their choice work shoes and get fitted for a pair that would last them on the job.

The program is one of the many programs offered by the Flintridge Center, which also offers the Youth of Promise initiative, which provides academic and social support for at-risk youth, and Reintegration Services, which provides reentry assistance for formerly incarcerated adults.

The Center’s vision is to create a healthy, safe, and thriving community where everyone has an opportunity to succeed and contribute. The Center’s mission is to empower people to change their lives and their communities.

For more information on enrollment and eligibility criteria, visit the Flintridge Center’s website,

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