SANTA MONICA—According to officials from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, an apprenticeship program for students, alumni and community members is a part of a new area trade council pact, that will clear the way in hiring residents and military veterans as workers and contractors.

The Board of Education from the SMMUSD approved the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) in accordance with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.

“The Project Labor 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 Dr. Ben Drati. “We are looking forward to working with all involved stakeholders on the implementation of this mutually beneficial agreement.”

The agreement will add a development of training and the apprenticeship program, in addition to creating ways to resolve disputes. According to Gail Pinsker, a district spokesperson, it guarantees a  “sufficient number of skilled workers from union halls.”

The district indicated that a sub-committee with Board Members Maria Leon-Vazquez, Oscar de la Torre, Richard Tahvildaran- Jesswein, staff and legal counsel noted details of the agreement.

A public discussion was held by the school board at the February 16 regular board meeting. Members of the community, as well as union leaders, spoke in accordance with the agreement. They stated that it will support local job growth and provide opportunities for students to participate in apprentice and pre- apprentice programs

Construction projects from the PLA include the forthcoming Malibu High School administration, library and building E replacement project, the John Adams Middle School performing arts complex and additional projects recommended by the district with the consent of the other parties.