Santa Monica College, in collaboration with the California Works Alliance, announced that the latest group of participants in its “Jobs Through Recycling” program graduated in a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 13 in the City of Pico Rivera.
The 124 graduates, who started the training program last year, received professional certificates in Sustainable Resource Management from the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA), a training partner. Even before graduation, 18 participants had been placed in jobs at NASA Services, Inc. of Montebello, a recycling company, and many more are expected to get work in the high-growth, high-demand field of recycling and resource management.
Although previous training programs have been held at SMC, this latest training was held at a facility in Pico Rivera. Laina Long, SMC’s project manager for California Works Alliance, said her program wanted to reach out to unemployed and underemployed people at the east end of Los Angeles County.
The participants received employee and driver training in zero waste, customer service and recycling.
"This has been one of our most successful group of graduates so far," said Judi Gregory, Certification Manager with the CRRA. "The partnership and collaboration with the City of Pico Rivera and NASA Services was very successful and resulted in many new job placements. Additionally, those being hired stated that they felt the advanced training helped them do a better job and made them feel more engaged and part of a team."
The training provided by CRRA, which hires industry professionals to teach the participants, is an 11-week program and covers topics such as recycling, reuse, waste prevention, zero waste, composting, construction debris management, sustainability, climate change, event recycling, food waste recycling and auditing tools. Each student also completed a group capstone project.
The “Jobs Through Recycling” program began in January 2011 and is funded by a $4.87 million Community-Based Job Training Grant awarded to SMC by the U.S. Department of Labor. Under the terms of the grant, approximately 500 people are to be trained in green jobs and careers through June 2013.
College officials say the program is important to SMC, not only because of the employment opportunities it creates but also because it underlines the college’s deep commitment to sustainability.
Officials have noted that the recycling industry is as large as the automobile industry in America, and that 25 percent of all green jobs in California are in recycling. In addition, research has shown that for every 10,000 tons of solid waste going to landfills, one job is created. That same amount of waste – if diverted from landfills – can create four composting jobs, 10 recycling jobs, and 75 reuse-materials jobs.
Pico Rivera Mayor Gustavo Camacho and members of the Pico Rivera City Council will attend the graduation ceremony and make remarks. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Pico Park Auditorium, 9528 Beverly Blvd, Pico Rivera.
For more information on the program or to apply for classes that start March 1, contact Judi Gregory at email@example.com or to go www.crra.com/scholarship.
(NOTE: This project was funded by a grant awarded under President Obama’s Community Based Job Training Grants as implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. Grant No. CB-20565-10-60. The California Works Alliance is part of SMC’s Department of Workforce and Economic Development.)