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Employment Training Offered at Work Fair : Jobs: Qualified applicants can sign up today for classes in construction, truck driving and other fields.


PASADENA — The Foothill Private Industry Council is sponsoring a Job Opportunity Day today from 1 to 4 p.m. to connect unemployed workers with job training and vocational programs.

Applicants can meet with 18 trainers who subcontract with the council. The training providers are either public educational institutions, community-based organizations or private vocational schools.

June unemployment rates, the most recent available, show area cities such as Pasadena (8.2%) and Arcadia (4.8%) were better off than the county, where unemployment reached 9.6%.

But Private Industry Council officials say thousands more are out of work, many not skilled enough to find new jobs easily.

"You have to take into account the hidden unemployment rate: those working part time and looking for a full-time job and those who have just given up," said Phillip L. Dunn, executive director of the Foothill council.

"We calculate that the real unemployment rate, especially among African-Americans and Latinos, is about 26%."

Most of those qualifying for the job programs are minorities, he said.

"That seems to be who's coming through the door and who has the barriers to employment that qualify them for our programs," he said.

To better control its programs, the Foothill Private Industry Council has resumed direct control of its skills testing and job referral programs, and has opened an office to serve laid-off and economically disadvantaged workers.

Job Opportunity Day will be held at the Private Industry Council's newly opened Participant Service Center, 377 South Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena.

Council officials are forming classes to train applicants in janitorial services, construction, teaching assistance, truck driving, medical assistance, computerized accounting, office and clerical occupations, word processing, retail sales, fashion merchandising, nursing assistance, child care, graphic arts, printing, automotive mechanics and other jobs.

To qualify for the federally funded job programs, an applicant must be at least one of the following: economically disadvantaged, recently laid off, 55 or older, a high school dropout, a welfare recipient, or unemployed for at least 15 out of the last 26 weeks or long enough to exhaust unemployment insurance.

The Private Industry Council is a federally funded job training and referral organization serving Arcadia, Duarte, Monrovia, Pasadena and South Pasadena.

The Participant Service Center was closed five years ago after officials decided to contract with the local state Employment Development Department and the Monrovia Unified School District to provide job skills testing and job referral services.

A spokeswoman for the industry council said the job skills testing and placement services are back under the direct control of the organization because new federal regulations require the organization to maintain closer relationships with clients. The council has hired a manager, two skills testing specialists and two case managers to staff the service center, which opened Monday.

Typically, workers who qualify for assistance first discuss their job goals with a case manager, and are then given academic tests to determine their reading, writing and mathematics skills. The council then sends participants through a federally funded job training program, with the goal of placing them in jobs.

Officials for the group say they assist about 1,000 workers a year.

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