Commerce, CA – Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn has provided a $165,000 grant to launch a new career training program at the Dorothy Kirby Center probation camp in the City of Commerce. Probation youth who enroll in the pilot program will be able to participate in hands-on career training, learn about personal branding and resume building, and get connected to internship and apprenticeship programs after they complete their time and return to their communities.
“I want to make sure we are setting up the young people in our care for success,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Through the WestCal Academy program, they will be able to get hands-on experience in different careers so they can find something they are passionate about and get connected to mentors who can show them the ropes of the industry.”
The 24-week course is a partnership between Supervisor Janice Hahn and WestCal Academy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit education organization headquartered in Torrance, California with multiple satellite locations across LA County. The pilot program received $165k of funding from Supervisor Hahn’s office through the Juvenile Justice Crime Prevention Act.
Probation youth at the Dorothy Kirby Center who choose to enroll in the program will take weekly hands-on courses in a wide range of vocational fields. Most weekly classes will be on-campus at Dorothy Kirby, but the program also includes two excursions in which students will be transported to WestCal’s Torrance headquarters.
Classes will include:
- automotive technology
- dental assistance
- HVAC maintenance
“The Los Angeles County Probation Department continuously seeks new educational and job opportunities for transitional-age youth to help them and their families receive the services they need to thrive,” said Dr. Jesus Corral, Senior Director of Education Services for the LA County Probation Department. “We look forward to collaborating with WestCal Academy to provide the students at Dorothy Kirby Center with an opportunity to explore a variety of Career Technical Education pathways.
“The goal of WestCal is to transform these young people into taxpayers by helping them secure a lucrative career. Dr. Tabakian, our founding President, personally brought me into WestCal,” said Joseph P. Lopez, Project Coordinator for WestCal Academy’s program at the Dorothy Kirby Center. “As a WestCal graduate, I can say that this program made me a better person. Ultimately, I want history to remember our project today as the first of many WestCal programs that helped youth in Probation’s care.”
Upon completion, WestCal graduates will be equipped with the skills to transition into an internship, apprenticeship, or continue their education in a college program or a Career Technical Educational (CTE) certification program. To assure accountability to the County and its taxpayers, WestCal will track students’ career pathway outcomes upon enrollment.
Importantly, young people who are discharged from the probation camp prior to the end of the 24-week course will be able to continue their training with WestCal either remotely or at a WestCal location.