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Santa Monica-Malibu School District to Hire Local, Start Apprenticeship Program  

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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

May 3, 2017 -- A new pact with area trade council clears the way to hire residents and military veterans as workers and contractors, and will create an apprenticeship program for students, alumni and community members, officials from the Santa Monica-Malibu public school system said.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) Board of Education approved the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.

The agreement will “provide our students and alumni with opportunities to learn valuable skills in high paying construction trades, while providing local residents the opportunity to find work in the community,” said SMMUSD Superintendent Ben Drati.

“We are looking forward to working with all involved stakeholders on the implementation of this mutually beneficial agreement,” he said.

A PLA is a collective bargaining agreement with labor organizations establishing conditions of employment for workers on construction projects in the school district, Drati said.

The agreement also calls for developing a training and apprenticeship program, as well as creating a manner for resolving disputes and guarantees to use a “sufficient number of skilled workers from union halls,” said Gail Pinsker, a district spokesperson.

She said the apprenticeship program will be reviewed by district officials to map out the best method of applying it to students.

The goal is to help train for the eventual “employment for students, alumni and community members, in construction trade,” Pinsker said.

No additional details are yet available, she said.

Pinsker said the board first considered a PLA in November of 2014, starting negotiations in April of 2015.

A sub-committee with Board Members Maria Leon-Vazquez, Oscar de la Torre and Richard Tahvildaran- Jesswein ironed out the agreement, along with staff and legal counsel, the district said.

The PLA will apply to such SMMUSD construction projects as the upcoming Malibu High School administration, library and building E replacement project, and the John Adams Middle School performing arts complex.

The February 16, 2017 board agenda item, including presentation slides and the agreement are online here

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