Building boom at LA Community Colleges

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Officials at West Los Angeles College in Culver City have scheduled a ceremonial groundbreaking this weekend for a new building. The effort is part of a multi-campus construction project fueled by $2.2 billion in voter-approved construction bonds.

Enrollment at West L.A. College has jumped by more than 50 percent in the last four years — now 13,000 students take classes there. The two-year college has already built a new center for science, math and health careers and other structures with its $400 million share of construction bonds.

Work’s beginning this year on a new 60,000 square foot training facility for entertainment industry careers such as lighting and set construction. College President Mark Rocha said it’s happening in partnership with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union.

"In a special agreement with them, we train students in the various crafts. And the students who come out successfully go onto the union roster, which means that they’re eligible for hire, which is a huge, huge thing for minority students, who usually cannot, at least historically it’s been hard to get onto the union roster," he said.

Even as filming leaves the region, Rocha said, L.A. will remain an entertainment industry town with a constant need for skilled workers.