Cerritos college launches teacher training program for at-risk youth

Marquisha Hames

Cerritos College has launched its Urban Teacher Fellowship.The program is a component of the Cerritos College Teacher TRAC Traning Academy.

The UTF serves and assists at-risk youth. Any member of the community between the ages of 17 to 24 at risk for either gang involvement or that is a current member of a gang, is welcome to join.

Cerritos College has received a $490,230 grant from the Governor’s Office of Gang and Youth Violence Policy.

Director of the Teacher Training Academy and Learning Communities Program, Sue Parsons, shared some history regarding the Teacher TRAC program.

Parsons says, “Teacher TRAC started the fall of 1999 in partnership with Cal State Long Beach. It was meant for students who wanted to become elementary school teachers. The program has since branched out to Cerritos College.”

The College Teacher TRAC and Pathway Program has made a place for people that has recruitment mechanisms and supportive services plans. Last year, with the help from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, UTF received a grant which was worth $125,000.

Undecided major Stephanie Daza says, “I think it’s a good program, and I see that [Teacher TRAC students] want to do something with their lives.”

Anyone can participate by completing the skills remediation program coordinated by Cerritos College Pathway Programs.

Being involved in this program requires that students receive 60 hours of after school youth-work training and then be placed in some type of employment area of after school workshops.

By having employment and the support of financial aid, the students gain experience as they try to pursue a longer term in the teaching credentials program.

Teaching major Shaniece Starnes said, “I know it’s bad for students to be involved in gangs. I think that it’s a really good program because a lot of people see these kids in gangs and don’t do anything to help them get out of the gang. Overall, I think it’s a good program.”

Students will be organizing in areas of learning communities of approximately 30 individuals from the bridge program until the completion of the project is over.

Parsons says, “basically if we can get students that are in troubled environments to come in and start working and become something in life, then that is great because, as teachers, they have a plan to set a goal and succeed in that goal that we are trying to reach.”

For more information, visit Teacher TRAC website at www.teachertrac.com. Program administrators can also be reached at (562) 860-2451, extension 2212.