By Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp 41 staff
Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp 41, located in the mountain range above Valyermo, graduated the first class of camp inmates from the Apprenticeship Readiness Program. This course of study was presented by Antelope Valley College, in partnership with the Los Angeles and Orange County Building Trades Council.
The course of study is referred to as the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3), a standardized, comprehensive, 160-hour construction curriculum designed to help transitioning adults choose and succeed in an apprenticeship program that is appropriate for them, as individuals.
The participants, all of whom are incarcerated, are residents of the Conservation Camp, a 136-bed, minimum-security facility, with a primary task of providing wild land firefighting hand crews for dispatch throughout the State. Funding for the course was available through a federal grant.
Graduates from the class receive a certificate of completion for First Aid-CPR, OSHA-10 compliance training and the MC3 completion. The course provides preparation for the entry skills test given at the various Union Halls when seeking employment, as well as an overview of each trades union. Presentations were given by a number of local unions, with overwhelming positive response from the participants.
“This has been one of the most positive and motivated groups I have taught this course to. It is evident that many of these men wish to turn their lives around, and I believe this course will aid them in this effort,” said course instructor Vincent Dino, a retired electrician from Local 11 with over 35 years of construction experience.
The inmates also received supporting instruction in mathematics from Kristine Zara, the Sierra Conservation Center Adult School teacher assigned to facilitate and oversee academic instruction at the 12 Southern Conservation Camps.
“With the support provided by the Sierra Conservation Center, the Southern Camps Office, Antelope Valley College and the local Trades Unions, this program was a great success. All of the feedback I have received has been positive. This is one of those rehabilitative efforts that the inmates have really responded to. It has been worth the effort of all involved,” said Lt. William Mock, Camp Commander of the Fenner Canyon Camp.
The class of 20 graduated May 14. Present at the graduation ceremony were instructor Vincent Dino, instructor Cathy Hart, Dean of Antelope Valley College Dr. O’Neal, Dean of Antelope Valley College Ann Stienberg, Sierra Conservation Center’s Kristine Zara, IBEW Local 11 representative Kathy MacClaren and Steve Hofbauer, Palmdale city council member. During the ceremony, the graduates were given words of encouragement and praised for their accomplishments.