After a major U.S. wildfire, training provides job opportunities for young adults
As the Woolsey Fire of 2018 threatened communities in Los Angeles County, California, burning uncontained for 14 days and destroying more than 96,000 acres, cleanup crews were essential to the rebuilding of property, homes and businesses. FHI 360’s Compass Rose Collaborative partner – the City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department – stepped in to offer a solution. Twelve local young adults participating in the Compass Rose Collaborative* were ready to give back to their community.
The Compass Rose Collaborative is a project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor that improves the education and employment outcomes of young adults, ages 18 through 24, after their involvement in the criminal justice system. Across the United States, FHI 360 brings together organizations like the City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department to provide training, technical assistance, evaluation, program support and partnership to integrate services within Compass Rose communities.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable barriers that come with having a criminal record, the twelve young people trained through a customized program, which was led by local efforts with support from FHI 360. Each person completed:
- 120 hours of pre-apprenticeship training
- Job readiness training
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA10) certification
- Forklift IV certification
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid certification
- Six weeks of construction training
After completing the training, the participants were hired in July 2019 by the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps to clean up the damage throughout the county. Due to the intensive program, particularly CPR and first aid training and the physical conditioning from the construction training, the Compass Rose Collaborative crews have been placed in the areas most devastated by the fires and accompanying mudslides. Their crew chiefs have praised all of the young workers as the best crews out there, because they are ready to work and are committed.
The collaborative is led by FHI 360’s National Institute for Work and Learning (NIWL) and fosters community relationships throughout the United States. Through NIWL, FHI 360 brings together local leaders from workforce, education and justice systems, community partners, young people and policy leaders to promote vibrant and safe communities by supporting and improving the outcomes of young people impacted by the justice system.
The Compass Rose Collaborative participants are all still working in the area, cleaning up after the Woolsey Fire and giving back to the community that provided them with a second chance.
Read more information about FHI 360’s work in the United States.
*FHI 360’s Compass Rose Collaborative is 100 percent funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Reentry Program in the amount of $4.5 million. No other sources of funding support this program.
Photo caption: Compass Rose Collaborative participants hired by the San Gabriel Valley Conservation Corps.
Photo credit: Juan Romero/City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department