The Venice Community Housing Corporation and its partners celebrated the graduation of 20 young people from the Venice YouthBuild Program Friday, June 23rd.

These 17-to-24-year-old men and women will go on to enroll in college or apprentice programs with construction trade unions, or seek other kinds of work.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl was the keynote speaker. A representative from the office of State Senator Debra Bowen also attended.

For this fifth cycle of YouthBuild, 34 disadvantaged and out-of-school youths were recruited from Venice and the surrounding areas, with an emphasis on the Oakwood neighborhood.

The program is open to youths who have multiple barriers to getting employment.

“We look for youths who were ready to tackle some of the barriers they need to overcome in order to be able to be successful,” said Kruti Parekh, director of YouthBuild. “These young adults not only need training, but need opportunities to find their identity and would benefit from the sense of community this program offers.”

Of the 34 original recruits, 20 graduated from the program.

Venice YouthBuild provides youths with construction skills through classroom instruction and on-the-job construction training.

While in the program, they also complete educational courses in computer literacy, job readiness, and leadership development toward their high school diploma.

As the program cycle neared completion, the Venice Community Housing Corporation helped place several graduates in Santa Monica College and in jobs.

The program is funded by the Housing and Urban Development Department.

Marina WorkSource Center, John Muir Charter School, Venice Skills Center, Playa Vista Jobs, Venice Family Clinic, Legal Aid for Los Angeles, the St. Joseph Center, Didi-Hirsh Mental Health Center, and the Ojai Foundation are among partners who have worked to provide services for YouthBuild students.

Founded in 1988, the Venice Community Housing Corporation’s mission is to preserve the economic, racial and social diversity of Venice and the surrounding area by maximizing affordable housing, economic and community development opportunities and by providing social services to low-income residents.

Information, (310) 399-4100.