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LA County Skilled Trades Summer Programs Preview

This summer for the third year, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools will be supporting skilled trades education opportunities for middle and high school students at six sites in Los Angeles County. We are focusing on Los Angeles, a vast geography of 10.5 million people, because of huge need and opportunity: skilled trades career pathways are not offered in most area high schools, while at the same time there are hundreds of thousands of relevant job openings now and ahead. Without growing excellent coursework and experiences, Los Angeles youth will not have access to this learning opportunity to help them thrive in work and in life.

Students will learn about construction, carpentry, automotive repair, solar installation and welding.

This summer’s partners are primarily working with high school age students offering them:

  • Class credit – toward high school graduation and/or dual enrollment college credit.
  • Practical, hands-on coursework in fields including carpentry, welding, automotive repair and alternative energy.
  • High-value, industry-based credentials that build skills and strengthen resumes.
  • Workplace education and preparation.
  • A summer wage – high school students earn $15.50/hour by participating in the trainings.

In 2022, we introduced “mobile training” on a limited basis for middle school students. Our goal was to inspire demand for skilled trades classes and pathways as these students progress to high school. The “mobile” offerings make use of materials and experiences that can be brought to a traditional school campus for a day, a week or a few weeks, rather than a purpose-built classroom, workshop or jobsite. This summer, mobile training will be integrated into the majority of our partners’ programming.

What do we expect to learn/do by the end of 2023?

  • Double the size of our summer enrollment among high school and middle school students – reaching more than 400 students.
  • Create a model and test the effectiveness of mobile training in building a pipeline of students interested in high school skilled trades pathways.
  • Develop a community of practice among Harbor Freight Tools for Schools grantees that spans schools, community-based organizations, labor and industry.
  • Expose educators and civic leaders to the opportunity for skilled trades education to help Los Angeles students achieve widely held and valued equity goals.

2023 Locations

We are supporting a mix of traditional public schools, charter schools and community-based organizations serving students in and around Artesia, Canoga Park, El Segundo/Hawthorne, Glendale, La Mirada, and San Pedro/Wilmington.

ACE YouthBuild (Canoga Park)
High school enrolled and post high school students will participate in a solar installation academy gaining hands-on experience designing and building a complete solar system including installation on jobsites in the Canoga Park area. ACE will offer mobile training in connection with a federally funded gang reduction program it is operating focused on middle school students.

Artesia High School
Day-long, hands-on classwork in automotive repair and welding will be offered as well as some experimentation with mobile training in carpentry.

Glendale Unified School District
Mobile training in carpentry will be integrated into the school district’s summer mathematics courses for middle school students with learning recovery needs.

La Mirada High School
Students participating in the high school’s existing welding skills pathway will lead welding camps for younger high school and middle school students. Mobile training will also be offered to middle school students participating in the district’s academic learning recovery programs to offer hands-on engagement with class subject matter.

Port of LA High School (San Pedro/Wilmington)
Basic and advanced welding and construction coursework will be offered in collaboration with Boys & Girls Club of LA Harbor’s career bound pilot program to link students with industry credentials and employment. Electric vehicle automotive classes will be offered in collaboration with El Camino College for high school and college dual enrollment credit.

DaVinci Schools (El Segundo/Hawthorne)
A two-week “summer camp” will offer 60 hours of instruction to high school students with an interest in welding and basic construction. The program will incorporate virtual as well as hands-on learning methods.