“Carson Joseph said he had struggled to find steady work since being released from prison four years ago, and when he graduated from a new job training program last week he hoped it would finally give him ‘a step up on the ladder.’
“Joseph, 29, was among 22 residents from Nickerson Gardens and other public housing developments who graduated Friday from the Sherwin-Williams Home Work Painter Training Program.
“The two-week program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is funded primarily by Sherwin-Williams, Los Angeles housing officials said. It focuses on teaching students about asbestos, mold and lead-based paint and gives them materials and real-world experience painting units in their own housing projects.
“‘Thereâ€™s more to just putting paint on the brush and then putting it on the wall,’ Joseph said.
“The program has been in existence since about 2003, but the housing authority of the city of Los Angeles brought the series to Southern California last year. Housing officials said that so far 91 people had been trained during sessions at Jordan Downs, Estrada Courts, Mar Vista Gardens and Nickerson Gardens.
“The two remaining sites for this yearâ€™s programs are in Rancho San Pedro and Ramona Gardens.”
“‘I was all for it,’ Joseph said. ‘I thought itâ€™d be a great opportunity for me.’
“Heâ€™s not sure whether it will lead directly to employment but said he is confident that the training will help. Bob Ballew, who works for Sherwin-Williams running the training courses, said 72% of the roughly 5,000 graduates of the program across the nation have found employment.
“‘In spite of all the negative, this is something positive,’ Ballew told the graduates Friday. ‘Even though the economy is bad, we hear the doom and gloom, there is still an opportunity to find employment.'”
Public housing residents learn tools of painting trade, by Amanda Covarrubias, LA Times, April 13, 2009
You know what they say at Homeboy Industries: Nothing stops a bullet faster than a job.
Thank you Sherwin-Williams for being cool enough to have a program like this and thank you City of LA for being smart enough to bring it here. I feel hope today, that’s probably a mistake on my part, but that I feel hope today.