SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The Department of Public Works and the San Francisco Housing Authority are teaming up to offer on-the-job training for some residents of public housing. The goal of the pre-apprentice program underway at Potrero Terrace is to offer a pathway for the resident participants – think of it as their chance to make some money and a difference.

It’s lauded as the first such program in the community.

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In order to participate, the individual must be a resident of public housing, and be willing to work in and around one of six targeted housing authority sites.

For example, one recent summer day a group of six donned yellow and orange vests to pick up trash on the Potrero Terrace basketball court and a nearby sports field.

“It’s very important. It’s very important,” foreman Derrick Breaux said of the work being performed. “There’s a lot of illegal dumping that goes on around here, so it’s like an eyesore.”

“There are kids that play on this basketball court,” he continued. “That’s why we try to clean it up every day to make sure when they get out of school they have a safe place.”

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The program pays participants, who are committed for a 17-month period, for their work.

“We’re kind of familiar with all of the neighborhoods so we pretty much know where the dumping is, we know where a lot of fence lines are, where the trash blows up to, where it accumulates,” reasoned Dominick Parella, 25. “Riding on the back of a packer, helping to assist in the packer, using different tools that we have. Just getting real familiar with the actual work that we will be doing, that actual general laborers do.”

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

Ideally, the participants in the program hope to secure employment as union laborers or gardeners – jobs that typically offer benefits and pensions – after graduating.

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