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Young women detained at Camp Scott in Saugus just got a leg up in the job market by earning a Work Readiness Certificate through the L.A. Youth at Work program.

"Having gainful employment can make all the difference for our students when they return home," said Kim Humphries, principal of LACOE's Road To Success Academy at Camp Scott. "Our partnership with Youth at Work opens doors for them to become productive citizens."

A program of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Youth at Work provides training in resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, customer service and other topics that prepare first-time job seekers for successful entry into the workforce.

The program was offered to the young women at Camp Scott thanks to a partnership between LACOE and the Chamber of Commerce through a California Career Pathways Trust grant.

LACOE career technical education instructor Jacalyn Talamentes incorporated the Youth at Work training into the health occupations course she teaches at the academy. She worked hard to prepare students for the certification process.

Chamber of Commerce representatives visited the site on March 23 to administer the process for students to earn the Work Readiness Certificate. The process includes passing customer service and basic math skills tests, filling out a job application, submitting a resume and interviewing with an industry professional.

The nonprofit Clothes the Deal outfitted students in professional attire.

"Our girls looked like any other students going to a job interview," Humphries said. "I was so proud to see them dressed and articulating like professionals, holding their heads high."

All 14 participating students earned the certification, which is recognized by more than 150 employers as a badge of job readiness and a portable credential that puts them at the head of the line when seeking employment.

"We hope to continue this partnership," said Mary Sanchez, LACOE Career Technical Education program coordinator. "The Chamber is very committed to making sure our students understand the work opportunities available to them, the options they have for support as they leave camp and how to best leverage the certification."

Photos: Chamber of Commerce representatives work with students at LACOE's Road To Success Academy at Camp Scott to earn the Work Readiness Certificate through the L.A. Youth at Work program.

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