Young people who didn’t make it through high school and might not quite know what route to take can find a specialized job in the construction industry thanks to a new Church service.

Catholic Charities of Los Angeles recently created AYE (Archdiocese Youth Employment Services) Los Angeles YouthBuild for young people between the ages of 18 and 24. According to the program’s director, José Guadrón, the program offers certified training, jobs and support for youths so they can complete high school. The next group will be starting this summer.

“For many, time passes and, although they wish to return to school, they do not know how to do it,” explained Guadrón. “That is why we help them complete their education, get their diploma and at the same time, help them obtain training in the field of construction: electricity, plumbing, carpentry, learning how to work with materials, operate heavy machinery, doing on-site inspection and more.”

YouthBuild has obtained an agreement with the Los Angeles School District to provide training and academic classes at the Los Angeles Technology Center in Downtown L.A.

“Monday through Friday, program participants receive six hours of training and two hours in a class to help them obtain their high school diploma,” Guadrón said. Participants dedicate between 30 and 35 hours a week in the nine-month program. During this time, they are offered a solid foundation and, once they have completed the program, participants receive a certificate. They can then decide whether or not to go into that specific technical field.

 “We put them in touch with people that can help them in whatever it is they wish to pursue. If, for example, they want to be electricians, we connect them with the electricians’ labor union so that they can enter into a learning program called Pre-Apprentice Program,” Guadrón said. The same is done with labor unions in other industries.

“If students realize that the construction area is not what they want, we will help them find a job in a field they are interested in or, if instead they wish to continue their studies in a university, we will help them through that transition,” he added. AYE Los Angeles has also united its efforts with Habit for Humanity, an organization that helps young people not only build houses to practice their acquired skills, but also offers those who are interested — at a very low cost — the homes they help build.

“[Habitat for Humanity] — which works at the international level — has given us the opportunity to offer the participants a place for them to gain experience in what they have learned,” Guadrón said.

The Catholic Charities program is also associated with Pico Union Housing Corporation, which has offered a space where they can be helped in a more personalized manner.

“The main goal is to help those who live in that community where there is a lot of school desertion. It also helps those that live near the Pico Union zip code,” he said.

“We would like to see more girls interested, because there are many possibilities in the construction field for them, especially within companies contracted with the City of Los Angeles. They are expected to have a certain percent of women in their staff,” Guadrón said.

AYE Los Angeles YouthBuild offers their participants the opportunity to earn a minimum of $18 an hour to start.

Even those who have some sort of criminal record can also participate. “If anyone has the desire to redo his or her life and stand out, this is the perfect program,” Guadrón said.

AYE LOS ANGELES YOUTHBUILD

AYE Los Angeles YouthBuild is a yearlong academic and construction training program that offers a hands-on paid internship program for WIOA-eligible youths:
› Participants must be 18-24 years old.
› They must have legal working permits, even if it is a temporary permit, such as the one offered by DACA. (This is due to the fact that they will be paid a salary.)
› They must present a document showing where they live.

How to enroll: Those interested can enroll throughout the year by calling (213) 241-9723. They can also fill out an application online at www.ayeyb.weebly.com.