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YWCA Job Corps Holds Topping Out Ceremony

By David Markland
Published: Friday, November 12, 2010, at 10:18AM
IMG_1671 David Markland [Flickr]

Councilwoman Jan Perry, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, CEO of YWCA Greater Los Angeles Faye Washington, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and City Controller Wendy Greuel pose in front of a steel beam including their signatures during the YWCA Job Corps

The YWCA’s Downtown Job Corps Urban Campus commemorated the construction of its highest point on Wednesday with a topping out ceremony attended by city leaders.

"This isn't just about brick and mortar," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said to the gathering of YWCA staff, students, and supporters. "We're giving people opportunities and skill sets."

Scheduled for completion in late 2011, YWCA's new 154,000 square-foot facility on Olive street between Olympic and 11th will bring together services currently offered in a handful of buildings throughout South Park, including job training, meals, medical services and social care. The new facility will service approximately 1200 at-risk youths per year and dormitory suites for 400 male and female resident students.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, speaking over grinding saws and the clank of metal beams as construction continued behind her, said, "I don't mind the noise, because the noise means jobs."

The construction currently employs over one hundred men and women, including twelve youth from the YWCA administered Job Corps with jobs that include apprenticeships in carpentry, plumbing, and welding and administrative positions.

The 1000-year-old topping out tradition started in Scandinavia when workers would erect an evergreen tree when the highest structural element of construction as a symbol of good faith and for well wishes for inhabitants of the new building.

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas, City Controller Wendy Greuel, YWCA Greater Los Angeles CEO Faye Washington and others involved with the project all gave remarks before signing an orange steel beam that was then hoisted, along with an evergreen tree, to the construction’s highest point.

The ceremonial beam will be displayed in the building’s lobby when it opens in early 2012.

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