Moms Prepare for Good Non Traditional Jobs
By Dianne Anderson
Mothers headed back to brick and mortar workplaces and possibly great paying jobs may be worried about what to do with the kids.
If they can get down the street and around the corner for 7:00 a.m. when the Long Beach YMCA pre-school doors fly open, they can get a full day of safe low-cost childcare and education until 5:00 p.m.
The only qualification is that moms must be low income.
Millions of moms have lost their jobs since the pandemic and many haven’t returned to work, either because those jobs are now nonexistent, or that good childcare is hard to find.
With the Long Beach YMCA, now they have options.
Andrea Sulsona, executive director of the YMCA of Greater Long Beach Early Childhood Education, said their pre-school program is licensed by the Department of Social Services. Families can submit paperwork to verify family size, and can expect a reply notice of eligibility within days.
Now is a great time to apply.
Parents can fill out a streamlined registration packet online with documents submitted by email. By July 1, about 75% of new slots open as young ones go on to kindergarten. The facilities open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. serving children from 18 months to five years old.
Three of their five YMCA centers are located near Jordan High School. One is in the Wrigley area Pacific Avenue Corridor, and the other in Bellflower Corridor.
Sulsona, who has a background in social work, said they link families to resources, especially help through COVID-19 with food boxes, grocery cards and rental assistance. They also post job openings at all of their preschools.
Coming up this weekend, the program is also participating at the Juneteenth Festival, hosted by the Long Beach Business Alliance, Antioch Church and Carl Kemp.
“We have a booth, a KidZone and we’ll give out information. We’re going to be promoting our programming. People say I had no idea ‘The Y’ had preschool. That’s the whole point,” she said.
With kids in a safe space, moms that have lost employment or just looking to earn better pay can check out WINTER, Women In Non Traditional Employment Roles.
The program regularly recruits for their 10-week pre-apprenticeship training in fields earning up to $120,000 a year, provided they can stick to the program. They serve low-income women from Los Angeles County and surrounding areas.
Students pre-train across several fields, 14 in all, and guided from apprenticeship up to the top of fields typically dominated by men, including journeymen, and foremen. They also earn the same as the men.
Ivet Lechuga, WINTER Senior Case Manager, said to get into the program, women must be low income, and have a high school or GED and be 18 and older. They need a valid driver’s license, valid social security, they must pass boot camp, and a drug test.
About every 12 weeks, a new group of students comes into their 10-week classes. Online orientations are held every Friday at 10:00 a.m. where participants can learn what to expect.
She said the best part over the years has been seeing where the women come from and how they’ve grown.
“We support those that are underrepresented. It’s beautiful when you see the transition to who they become after they complete their apprenticeship program, they become journeywomen.”
Some women are now foremen and earning good money. Electricians are the highest paid, but it’s a slower process. WINTER also works with the Orange County and Los Angeles Trades Council.
Back in the day, it was an anomaly for women to be in construction.
“We get a lot of young ones now because high schools are promoting these trades. Before it was just pushing you to go to college, now they realize college is not for everyone,” she said.
As they move to apprenticeships, women are paid to be trained with no experience, and also learn their tools to start in their fields of choice. She said the program holds high expectations.
In their pre-apprenticeship training, they learn the trades, construction math, blueprints, identify and work hands-on with power tools. They also get certificates in OSHA, first aid, CPR, and 120 hours of multi-core curriculum for construction.
She said their students have an edge.
“We partner with the trades [unions] because they know who we are. Sometimes they even refer ladies to finish WINTER pre-apprenticeship training first,” she said.
Women must be true morning people and get their workboots on early.
Each day, they engage in conditional physical training. The program starts at 6:30 a.m.
“But they need to be here a half-hour to an hour earlier. We get them into a habit of performing those skills, and prepared for a job because in construction you need to show up,” she said.
They receive workforce readiness training, mock interviews, public speaking and presentation, and help with resumes.
Coming from South Central herself, many years ago she also started as a single mom, and said she understands the challenges.
“It gives me satisfaction to serve these women and help them along the way, I push them because a lot of our underrepresented communities don’t have the life skills, they don’t teach us that,” she said. “We need those life skills to be successful in our careers and to keep jobs.”
For more information on LBYMCA Pre-School, see https://www.lbymca.org/locations/early-childhood-education
For more information on WINTER programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org mailto:email@example.com, and students will receive a reply and invite to their online orientation.