Alameda Corridor Conservation Corps Beautifies Communities, Provides Education

Alameda Corridor Conservation Corps Beautifies Communities, Provides Education

JULY 13, 2000

LOS ANGELES COUNTY – Disadvantaged young adults have removed more than 6,000 pounds of litter, 5,000 pounds of weeds, and 82 shopping carts from Compton Creek and received valuable training under the unique Alameda Corridor Conservation Corps program.

A total of 52 young men and women have enrolled in the program, which is evaluating requests for future beautification projects such as tree planting, graffiti eradication and debris pickup.

The Alameda Corridor Conservation Corps is a joint effort involving the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA), the Conservation Corps of Long Beach and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. ACTA, a partnership between the cities and ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, is building a 20-mile-long rail cargo expressway between the ports and the rail yards near downtown Los Angeles.

Launched in April, the program will recruit, train and employ 200 young adults (ages 18-23) over the course of one year. Recruits are paid minimum wage while working 32-36 hours per week on beautification projects in Alameda Corridor Communities. For 6-10 hours per week, they also receive training and education — for example, credits toward a high school diploma.

The ACTA Governing Board received a status report on the program during a regularly scheduled meeting Thursday.

“I am pleased to say the Alameda Corridor Conservation Corps is exceeding our very high expectations,” ACTA Chief Executive Officer James C. Hankla said. “We are looking forward to continued excellent performance as the program matures.”

The program is divided into four three-month segments with approximately 50 participants in each, for a total of 200 participants over the course of one year. After three months, participants have the option to join the Conservation Corps full-time, phase into a Long Beach or Los Angeles city college program, or enroll in a business, vocational or trade school or apprenticeship program. Assistance is provided in tracking jobs and applying for grants and loans. Participants must be residents of Corridor Communities.

“Not only are we beautifying Corridor Communities, but the Conservation Corps program also provides a valuable service to young adults who often face difficulties continuing their education and entering the job market,” said Long Beach City Councilman Jeffrey A. Kellogg, who serves as the ACTA Governing Board Chairman.

“We are providing benefits to Corridor communities that go well beyond actual construction of the Alameda Corridor,” said Governing Board Vice Chairman Rudy Svorinich Jr., a Los Angeles City Councilman.

ACTA is providing $1.2 million in funding while the two Corps chapters are administering the program. The Conservation Corps is a private non-profit company that provides youth with training, education and work experience in a variety of areas, including recycling, landscaping, sidewalk replacement and conservation programs.

To recruit for the program, the Corps has reached out to Corridor Communities and leased a satellite office at 3215 N. Alameda Street in Compton. Before beginning any site work, Alameda Corridor Conservation Corps crews are trained in safety and provided helmets, goggles, work boots and uniforms.

The current work along Compton Creek extends from the Los Angeles River in Carson to the area just north of State Route 91 in Compton, a stretch of approximately three miles.

ACTA and Conservation Corps officials have solicited requests from Corridor communities for beautification projects. Among the selection criteria are that projects not displace existing employees or contractors, that they carry significant community benefit and that work can start immediately.

The $2.4 billion Alameda Corridor will speed the flow of cargo and reduce traffic congestion by eliminating conflicts at more than 200 street-level railroad crossings. It is on budget and on schedule for completion in April 2002.