In 2006 Community Coalition launched a campaign to create pathways out of poverty by building a career technical academy in South LA that connects students directly to jobs that offer living wages, health benefits and union protection. African American and Latino students in South LA were neither being prepared for college nor successful futures. Their path only seemed to lead to dead-end, low-wage jobs or a life of poverty and crime.
The campaign focused on providing not just college access to South LA students but access to living-wage careers, providing opportunities to youth who would otherwise “disappear” (drop out) or be “pushed out” by the poor quality of education and lack of support resources and services.
Community Coalition youth and parents like Gladys Jones achieved a victory after two years of fighting to bring a career academy to South LA. Parent leaders and youth gathered support from community members; they met with officials from Green Dot Public Schools, and organized a trip to visit San Diego’s Kearny Mesa High School, which had successfully opened a similar program years ago.
The Architecture, Construction, Engineering Academy opened in 2009 thanks to the efforts of our parents and youth who secured the support of Green Dot Public Schools and commitment from a broad alliance of other business, labor and community groups.
This Academy uses rigorous hands on A-G curriculum and directly connects students to apprenticeship, internship and career opportunities after high school in high growth industries. The Academy is helping to break the cycle of poverty in our community by preparing students for solid futures either through the pathway of college or living wage career opportunities.
The ACE Academy is now entering its second year at Locke High School.
Read about our current campaign in the fight for educational justice at Fremont High School.