SoCal Colleges Offer a Training Program That Paves Way For Green Jobs

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Government-sponsored green certificate program helps graduates find jobs; begins enrollment

LOS ANGELES/ORANGE COUNTY – Santa Monica College, Golden West College and
Irvine Valley College have partnered with regional workforce centers under the auspices of the California Works Alliance; a community-based job training grant sponsored by the Department of Labor. The goal of this community college training is to prepare and place Southern Californians in a variety of jobs in the emerging green businesses and industries. Students are provided with the opportunity to develop critical skills and participate in on-the-job training in this newly evolving field. Community college partners are making a difference in the lives of the participants seeking employment or advancing their existing careers. The program focuses on recycling, resources management and zero waste planning.

To enroll in this state-approved training program, candidates are required to attend one intake session. These sessions are being offered during the months of July and August in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Spaces are limited. To register and secure a spot at an intake session, potential students are encouraged to visit

The results of the Recycling and Resource Management program are clear. Graduates of this program and the Recycling & Zero Waste program have interned at the University of California at Irvine, City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Rainbow Environmental, Tierra Verde Industries and CalRecycle, to name a few. At least 22 graduates have landed jobs to date.

Ken Matsagas, one of 36 graduates from Orange County, got an internship in the industry thanks to the training program and accumulated a wealth of experience.

“I’ve always considered myself a businessman first and environmentalist…seventh, but the program helped me apply my business experience to recycling and zero waste so they make good business sense. Now I’m starting a new business venture that helps me do what I do best,” said Matsagas, a 67-year–old former Marine and Vietnam vet who graduated from the program last April and currently works with Beach Side Recycling.

“This program is about getting solid knowledge and experience that will put graduates on the path to finding a job that helps both the environment and the economy,” said Laina Long, project manager for the California Works Alliance.

About The California Works Alliance
The California Works Alliance is a Community-Based Job Training Program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant program offers a training program through Golden West College, Irvine Valley College and Santa Monica College and provides certificates in both Recycling & Resource Management and Recycling & Zero Waste. The program includes career placement and job readiness services from L.A. County WorkSource Centers and Orange County One Stop Centers. Taught by industry professionals and academics, the program provides opportunities for internships and networking, and includes national partners that are developing statewide and national certificates in collaboration with the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA), the Recycling Organizations of North America (RONA)/National Recycling Coalition (NRC) and the Zero Waste International Alliance.

This project was funded by a grant awarded under the President's Community Based Job Training Grants, as implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. Grant number CB-20565-10-60.

The California Works Alliance is an equal opportunity employer program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. We provide veterans' priority services under the Jobs for Veterans Act.

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