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San Diego County Job Training Program Expands With $3.2 Million Grant

Photo caption: County Supervisor Greg Cox presents Elaine Cooluris, executive director of Ab...

Photo credit: Roland Lizarondo

County Supervisor Greg Cox presents Elaine Cooluris, executive director of Able-Disabled Advocacy, an award commending the organization's work in San Diego County, Nov. 2, 2015.

As President Barack Obama on Monday kicked off the first National Apprenticeship Week, a local job training nonprofit said it received a multimillion-dollar federal grant that could give San Diego County residents more employment opportunities through apprenticeships.

The Able-Disabled Advocacy group, which was founded in 1975 to assist the county’s disabled, veteran and low-income communities in finding employment, obtained $3.2 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand its apprenticeship program.

The grant is one of a string of grants the government awarded nationwide as part of the $175 million project ApprenticeshipUSA to develop “innovative, high-quality registered apprenticeship programs.”

The grant will put 300 individuals with all types of disabilities and other barriers to employment in the county through apprenticeships over the next five years, said Cindy Lennon, adult programs manager and apprenticeship director.

"It's free training," Lennon said. "It's no cost for the classroom part, test fees are paid for certifications, and then you get paid to learn on the job. Who wouldn't want to go for that?"

The funds will also allow Able-Disabled Advocacy to expand into the fields of information technology, project management and advanced manufacturing.

About 450,000 apprentices are working with more than 150,000 employers nationally, according to the nonprofit.

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