The months of December and January have seen an increase in gang violence in the Pasadena community, and in light of these events Flintridge Center hopes to highlight our work toward developing a safer, healthier community. The graduation marks participants’ new commitment to themselves and their community.
Recently, 23 formerly incarcerated and gang-impacted community members graduated from Flintridge Center’s Apprenticeship Preparation Program (APP), a career readiness program based in Northwest Pasadena. The APP prepares community members returning to the San Gabriel Valley region for careers in union construction trades. Formerly incarcerated individuals face overwhelming barriers to successfully reintegrating into their communities, particularly in finding sustainable employment. Unemployment is the biggest factor impacting recidivism, and 65% of those released from California’s prison system return within three years. The APP is Flintridge Center’s answer to these challenges. The program includes a nationally-recognized union training course, case management, employment development, and life skills development. Graduates receive a union-issued pre-apprenticeship certificate that gives them a leg up when applying to join unions.
The graduates included: Jason Alvarado, Michael C. Burnes, John Derwishian, Kwamé Gammon, David Mellinger, Samuel Soto, Salvador Alvarado, Michael Burnes Jr., MärQ Edwards, Edgar Holguin, Louis Ortiz, Saul Valdez, Brian Blevins, Domingo Cabral, Kenyon Donester Jermaine Huston, Carlos Posada, Jackie Vasquez, Michael Brown, Naomy Cueva, Brian Duque, Thomas Jerecki, and Andrew Revada.
Speakers at the event included past graduates, current students and local leaders.