HIRELAX graduates seventh cohort

Posted on: 03/04/2021

Surrounded by friends and family, 32 students of Los Angeles Southwest College's HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program's seventh cohort graduated Friday, Feb. 28, marking the successful completion of a transformative eight-week course that will prepare them for apprenticeships in the construction trades.

The event at LASC featured Justin Erbacci, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA); Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees President Andra Hoffman; Parsons Corporation President and CEO Carey Smith; Los Angeles & Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council (LA/OC BCT) Executive Secretary Ron Miller; and LASC President Dr. Seher Awan. Erbacci congratulated the class on its accomplishment and expressed his hope that many of them would soon begin working on LAX's $14 billion modernization program.

"Over the past three years, the HireLAX program provided training that enabled more than 130 graduates to earn an apprenticeship and begin their careers in the construction industry," said Justin Erbacci, Interim CEO, LAWA. "Today's graduates are one step closer to joining an exclusive group of Angelenos who will be able to point to a transformed LAX and say, 'I built that.'"

HireLAX is a partnership between LAWA, LASC and the LA/OC BCT. This workforce development program prepares local residents for skilled craft labor careers to support the multibillion-dollar capital improvement program at LAX through an eight-week course that trains participants in construction best practices, mathematics, physical education, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, and other subjects. All participants are from the City of Los Angeles or the surrounding LAX area.

Now in its third year, the program has placed 137 of its 172 graduates, or 79.66 percent, into jobs over the previous six cohorts, with a majority of them starting as union apprenticeship participants. The program marked its 100th graduate placement into a construction job last August with a placement of a worker on the Midfield Satellite Concourse project at LAX.

Like the previous cohorts, today's graduating class is diverse and inclusive of local community members who have faced challenges in their lives. The graduates of Cohort 7 include:

  • 18.8% are female
  • 34.4% identify as African American
  • 43.8% identify as Hispanic/Latino
  • 53% of graduates come from the program's Impact Area (communities immediately adjacent to the airport)
  • 43.8% of graduates had some form of prior involvement with the criminal justice system

Contractors performing work on LAWA projects must meet or exceed 30 percent local participation with a workforce that reflects the diversity of Los Angeles. The HireLAX program trains local residents to earn these jobs. Under the HireLAX framework, program graduates will be connected with union apprenticeship programs and contractors, so they can begin their construction careers at LAX. For example, there are multiple craft positions contractually earmarked for HireLAX graduates on the LAX Automated People Mover and Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility projects, which are part of the LAX Landside Access Modernization Program.

The HireLAX program was developed within the framework of LAWA's Project Labor Agreement (PLA), which is a partnership between LAWA, its contractors and the local construction unions. The PLA requires contractors and unions to refer local workers to the project and to conduct outreach to persons who have not previously had access to employment opportunities on construction projects, especially underrepresented minorities and women. A substantial proportion of students who participate in the HireLAX program have faced barriers to employment, including homelessness or involvement with the criminal justice system.

The LAWA PLA and the HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program are managed by Pasadena-based Parsons Corporation. Additional support services are provided by the County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles through their America's Job Centers and WorkSource/YouthSource Centers. Nonprofits Flintridge Center, 2nd Call, and the County of Los Angeles and City of Los Angeles support services network provide comprehensive case management for students and graduates.